Congressional Battle over Budget Ceiling Rages

Congressional Battle over Budget Ceiling Rages
Washington, DC continues to be embroiled in a heated debate around raising the national debt ceiling, which has brought Congress and the nation’s capital to a standstill. According to the Treasury Department the federal government will run out of money on August 2 if an agreement to raise the ceiling is not reached. For months, Congress and the White House have been negotiating a deficit reduction package in exchange for raising the debt ceiling. With less than a week to go, Congressional Republicans and Democrats, along with President Obama continue to clash over issues such as generating revenue and reducing spending.

President Obama and his allies in Congress are calling for a balanced deficit reduction plan that would include some increases in taxes (mostly by closing loopholes for corporations and the nation’s top earners). Congressional Republicans, led by Tea-Party freshman, will not accept any deal that includes increased revenue, whether through tax increases or closing loopholes. Indeed, many so-called Tea-Party members oppose raising the debt ceiling period.

It is possible that a deal to raise the ceiling may include cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, which the President said he was willing to consider. As both Medicare and Medicaid are major providers of care for people living with HIV/AIDS, any cuts to these programs could have a devastating impact on the community and HIV/AIDS services, including Ryan White and AIDS Drug Assistance Programs. At the same time, default itself – which would occur if Congress fails to raise the debt ceiling – could also have serious consequences for people living with HIV/AIDS. The government would have to make tough decisions between competing priorities like whether to pay social security beneficiaries or our military. It is quite possible that funds for Ryan White, Medicare and Medicaid services would also be affected by this shortage in funds.

NMAC is closely monitoring the debt ceiling negotiations and will continue to update its constituents on any important developments.

Read NMAC’s action alert on the debt negotiations here »

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World Hepatitis Day

Today, July 28th is World Hepatitis Day. Viral hepatitis impacts hundreds of millions of people world wide, killing as many as a million people annually. In the United States, the most common of all bloodborne infections is Hepatitis C. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, an estimated 3.5-5.3 million people are living with viral hepatitis in the U.S. What’s more, anywhere from 65 to 75 percent of those living with the virus are unaware they have it, increasing the likelihood that they may transmit the infection to others.

Those at greatest risk for Hepatitis infection are intravenous drug users, gay men, and other men who have sex with men. Minorities, particularly African Americans and Asian and Pacific Islanders are also disproportionately impacted. World Hepatitis Day provides an opportunity to raise awareness both of the epidemic’s toll and ways individuals can protect themselves from infection.

Read NMAC’s press statement marking World Hepatitis Day here »
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About NMAC
The National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC) builds leadership within communities of color to address challenges of HIV/AIDS. Since 1987, NMAC has advanced this mission through a variety of programs and services, including: a public policy education program, national and regional training conferences, a treatment and research program, numerous publications and a website:

Today, NMAC is an association of AIDS service organizations providing valuable information to community-based organizations, hospitals, clinics and other groups assisting individuals and families affected by the AIDS epidemic. NMAC’s advocacy efforts are funded through private funders and donors only.

For more information, contact NMAC directly at (202) 483-NMAC (6622) or

About NMAC on the Hill
NMAC wants to make sure that our constituents are up to date on the latest activities in Congress and around Washington, DC that affect HIV/AIDS programs, funding, and the broader movement. To accomplish this, we will be sending regular updates on legislation, meetings and other happenings in the nation’s capital to keep you informed on what matters to our community.

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