Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Content Streaming in an Overdrive

National Voter Registration Day

Today is National Voter Registration Day. Six million Americans didn’t cast a ballot in the 2008 elections because they missed their state’s voter registration deadline or didn’t know how to register. With the commitment of advocates like you, we can help ensure that the HIV/AIDS community (including you) is registered in time. Register online at the National Voter Registration Day website today!

Already registered to vote and want to mobilize people living with and who care about HIV in your state? Join the I Pledge to Vote campaign! Here’s how it works. Simply sign the online form pledging you will vote on or by November 6. Then show and tell why you are pledging to vote in the 2012 elections. Download and fill out this sign to explain why voting this November is so important. Take a picture and post it to the AIDS United Facebook page. Make the photo your profile picture and encourage others to do the same. It’s an easy and fun way to say why participating in the elections is so important.

Want more information on how you can educate, register, and mobilize your community? Check out AIDS United’s Voter Mobilization Toolkit.

Congressional Update I:
Appropriations for Fiscal Year 2013

Congress returned to Washington, D.C. last week from its August recess. While the list of unfinished business is long, the major and likely only legislative agenda item that Congress will take up before the November elections is the Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the federal government for six months in the new 2013 fiscal year that begins Oct. 1, 2012. On September 13th the House of Representative passed the CR (H.J. Res. 117) by a vote of 329 to 91. The measure is now being considered in the Senate.

The process in the Senate has not been as smooth as it was in the House. The main roadblock has been Senator Rand Paul’s (R-KY) threats to filibuster the CR unless there is an agreement to have a debate on foreign aid to Egypt, Libya and Pakistan. On a vote of 67-31, the Senate agreed on Thursday to proceed to considering the CR. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is expected to file a cloture motion to limit debate on the CR. All of these parliamentary maneuvers mean that a vote on the CR is not likely before Saturday and may be as late as Sunday, Sept. 23. The Senate is expected to pass the CR and send it to the President for his signature before the Sept. 30 end of the FY 2012 fiscal year. This will ensure that the federal government will operate on Oct. 1. After the CR vote, the Senate will recess until after the November elections. Congress will return in mid-November for a lame duck session (the period between the elections and the start of the new Congress on Jan. 3) to work on the many priorities that are unfinished.

The CR provides a slight 0.6% increase in overall spending for FY 2013 over the FY’ 12 spending level. This small increase is in accord with the Budget Control Act. This means that for the most part, domestic HIV programs will be at their current, FY ’12 funding levels. There are no policy riders in the CR, which means that the ban on federal funding of syringe exchange programs will continue. The CR will expire on March 27, 2013. This means that the new, 113th Congress will need to act to complete appropriations for the balance of FY ’13. Current thinking is that Congress will enact another 6-month CR to the Sept. 30 end of the fiscal year.

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