Here's the scoop on what's happening this week in Congress.
On Wednesday, June 19, the House passed a four-bill minibus, a bill that combines multiple spending bills to move bills through the House faster. This minibus included labor, health and human services (LHHS), that includes STD program funding. The bill increased funding for DSTDP by $10 million and included funding increases for HIV prevention at CDC, hepatitis prevention at CDC, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Ryan White Care Program, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s opioid and infectious disease program and the Minority HIV/AIDS Fund. NCSD and the Partnership to End HIV, STDs, and Hepatitis released this statement voicing support for this bill.
On Wednesday, June 19, Administration officials and Congressional leaders met to discuss raising the spending caps for FY2020 and 2021. Everyone at the meeting agreed that another government shutdown, if they are unable to reach a deal by October, is off the table. However, there will most likely be a few more weeks, or even months, before they reach a deal on what the number should be. If the Administration and Congress cannot reach a deal, Congress will pass a year-long continuing resolution (CR), or a bill that gives authority to Federal agencies and programs to continue operating with FY19 appropriations.
The Senate has been waiting to see if a budget caps deal can be reached before they begin their appropriations process. The Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby has said that if a deal has not been reached after the Senate comes back from the July 4 break a determination will be made on the top-line numbers that the Senate Appropriations Committee will write to.
On Thursday, June 20, Senator Harris unveiled the PrEP Access and Coverage Act. The bill would help increase access to PrEP by requiring that all health insurers cover the full cost of the medication and lab tests. The bill would also support grant funding to states and territories to provide PrEP access to the uninsured.