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As Congress Avoids Another Shutdown, the Fate of HIV Housing Money Remains Uncertain

The prospects of members of Congress—and those who are tasked with covering them—going home early this year for the holiday recess got slimmer yesterday as both House and the Senate passed a 2-week continuing resolution to fund the federal government at Fiscal Year 2018 funding levels through December 21st. Unlike last December, when Congress approved a continuing resolution (CR) for the entirety of the federal government’s spending, this year they only had to pass a CR for 7 of the year’s 12 spending bills, with funding for Labor-Health and Human Services and Defense both being approved on time this year.

Currently, the primary obstacle standing between Congress and a somewhat timely passage of all their spending bills this year is President Trump’s desire for funding for his much-ballyhooed border wall. Trump is seeking $5 billion in funding for the wall he once claimed would be paid for by the Mexican government, and Democratic leadership in Congress is staunchly opposed to the idea.

Both Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA-12) appear to be on the same page, projecting an unwillingness to provide any more than $1.6 billion for border security—the vast majority of which would be reauthorized funds from last year’s budget. For her part, Rep. Pelosi is calling for Congress to pass six of the remaining spending bills in a minibus and authorize a year-long CR for the Homeland Security bill that contains the border security funding. This would be the most advantageous scenario for people living with HIV as the Transportation-Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD) bill would be included in that minibus and would hopefully include the $393 million in funding for the Housing Opportunities for People With AIDS (HOPWA) program that was in the House’s spending agreement. Should the T-HUD bill be subject to a CR, HOPWA funding would continue at last year’s $375 million level.

Minority Leaders Schumer and Pelosi are scheduled to meet with President Trump on Tuesday of next week to discuss the spending bills. AIDS United will continue to monitor developments on the remaining 7 spending bills and will update readers in the coming weeks.

Posted By: AIDS United, Policy Department - Friday, December 07, 2018

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