Last week, House legislators passed HR 2740, an appropriations bill allocating money for fiscal year 2020 for several agencies including the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the institution where most funding for the federal HIV response is housed. As AIDS United has previously noted, representatives prioritized health funding across the board, and HIV-specific programs in particular saw funding increases, including an additional $116.4 million for the Ryan White Program and $140 million for the CDC to carry out various aspects of the Administration’s Ending the Epidemic: A Plan for America initiative.
Representatives in the House will now continue on to the second appropriations minibus on deck, providing funding for the Agriculture-FDA, Interior-Environment, Military Construction-Veterans Affairs, and Transportation-Housing & Urban Development (T-HUD) departments. The section of the bill covering T-HUD, set to be debated on the House floor on Monday, June 24, is particularly important for people living with HIV and their allies as it includes the Housing Opportunities for People with HIV/AIDS (HOPWA) program. The T-HUD Appropriations Subcommittee allotted an additional $17 million for the program from 2019 levels, and the House is expected to carry this increase forward in the final bill.
Though lawmakers in the House are keeping schedule on 2020 appropriations, a budget cap deal has not yet been set with Senators, calling into question the ability of legislators to finalize the new year’s spending ahead of the October 1 deadline. Party leaders in both the House and the Senate are continuing talks with the White House about spending limits; Senate Appropriations Chair Richard Shelby (R-AL) has stated that his committee will not begin considering the House’s bills until a deal between the Democratic-controlled House, the Republican-led Senate, and the White House is reached. Recent reports of these discussions have affirmed that neither a government shutdown nor sequestration cuts are not being considered. If the parties can’t make a deal, however, a year-long continuing resolution will be passed, extending fiscal year 2019 funding levels to 2020.
AIDS United will continue to work with allies in Congress to ensure the full funding of federal programs serving people living with, impacted by, and vulnerable to HIV. Check back to the Policy Update frequently for all the latest on HIV appropriations and policy.