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AIDS Money Suddenly at Risk (Ryan White Act) Editorial
  NY Times
Published: September 1, 2006
A lethal form of budgetary politics is at work in Congress. The proven formula for assisting AIDS-ridden urban areas that pioneered effective treatment programs is in danger of being radically altered to shift money to more rural states. Rather than increase spending to cover both real priorities - the cities' AIDS needs and the growing problem of H.I.V. in rural areas - current proposals would deny the cities tens of millions of dollars.
Nothing could be more foolhardy for the nation as a whole. The AIDS battle knows no boundaries and has hardly waned in New York, California, Florida, Illinois and the other states that first confronted the challenge a generation ago. The cuts being contemplated would be traumatic for the valuable mix of treatments now given to tens of thousands.
The Republican leadership hopes to rush this change through Congress soon after it returns next week in the renewal of the $2 billion AIDS spending program. A fairer formula is being sought by alarmed lawmakers from the states slated to be shortchanged. Republicans are trying to spread nonsense that this all about red state versus blue state. The real question is whether Congress would dare to turn the proven Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency Act into another demeaning pork-barrel competition. In effect, the potential urban losers stand to be penalized for having shown the way in fighting the AIDS scourge.
Lawmakers have been on a generous recess in which they drove spending for their own re-election lifelines to $300 million for television alone. It will take a relative pittance - perhaps $100 million more - to finance the AIDS fight across the board. Surely a Congress that repeatedly spends far more on favored pieces of hometown pork can find the wherewithal to see to this life-and-death issue for the entire nation.
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