October 6, 2011

October 6, 2011

Action Alert: Help Protect Ryan White Funding

Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Thursday and I hope you are having a safe and great week so far. It is another busy day for Dab the AIDS Bear and me.

From reading my blog, you know I have action alerts when something is happening on the state or national level. Well, Dab the AIDS Bear and I need your help again on the national level!

Action Alert: Call Congress BEFORE October 13, 2011 to Protect Ryan White and Other HIV Programs in the Deficit Reduction Package

Background-Federal Deficit Reduction Congress passed the Budget Control Act in August, creating a 12-member bipartisan "super committee" tasked with developing a proposal to reduce the federal deficit by $1.2 to $1.5 trillion over the next ten years. The 12 members of the super committee are:

Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), co-chair Senator John Kerry (D-MA) Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) Senator John Kyl (R-AZ) Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R, TX-5th), co-chair Rep. Dave Camp (R, MI-4th) Rep. Fred Upton (R, MI-6th) Rep. James Clyburn (D, SC-6th) Rep. Xavier Becerra (D, CA-31st) Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D, MD-8th)

This super committee has authority to recommend policy changes to reduce spending, which could mean major cuts to programs that are important to people living with HIV and AIDS-including the Ryan White Program, Medicaid and Medicare-as well as other programs that support AIDS research, HIV prevention and testing, and care and support services (approaches our community opposes). The super committee can also recommend that the federal government raise revenue as a way to help reduce the deficit (an approach our community supports).

Between now and October 14, all members of Congress can make recommendations to the 12 members of the deficit reduction super committee about how to reduce the federal deficit. It is important that your members of Congress hear from YOU about the HIV community's priorities.

The super committee must make a proposal to Congress by November 23. If it doesn't, there will be automatic cuts to programs in all federal agencies, which could seriously harm programs and services for people with HIV and AIDS. (Or, if the committee's proposal doesn't cut at least $1.2 trillion, automatic cuts will make up the difference.) If automatic cuts are triggered, certain "entitlement" programs for poor and low income individuals and families, such as Medicaid, will not be affected.

Action Needed Call or email your U.S. Representative and two U.S. Senators by October 13. Urge them to support the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program and the HIV community's larger priorities when they talk to the super committee about ways to reduce the federal deficit. If one of your Senators or your Representative is a member of the super committee, your call is especially important!

You can be connected to your member of Congress by calling the Capitol Switchboard, 202-224-3121 or look them up via the link below.

Message "I am a constituent, and I am calling to ask the Senator/Representative to support the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program and the HIV community's priorities throughout the deficit reduction process. These are our top priorities:

1. No cuts to the Ryan White Program in the deficit reduction packet

2. Deficit reduction must be fair and balanced, and must include raising revenues.

3. Any approach to deficit reduction must protect vulnerable populations and maintain the federal commitment to the fight against HIV/AIDS by funding prevention, care and treatment, research, housing and support services.

4. It is essential to preserve the federal commitment to the Medicaid and Medicare programs.

5. We oppose deficit reduction strategies that would jeopardize health care reforms already underway.

So make the call today and help protect Ryan White funding. People with HIV and AIDS are counting on you using your voice!

Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope, happiness and just enough.

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab