Deficit Super Committee Meets for First Time

Deficit Super Committee Meets for First Time
Today, September 8, the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, often referred to as the “super committee” created by the debt ceiling agreement last month, will convene for the first time. The committee has until Thanksgiving to identify and agree upon $1.5 trillion in deficit savings through spending cuts, tax increases or some combination of the two. If an agreement cannot be reached in the allotted time, a series of automatic across-the-board cuts will kick in, something neither party wants. According to the committee co-chairs, today’s meeting will seek to establish operating rules for the newly created body.

While no specific cuts have been identified, the committee has broad authority to cut spending in any program or agency, including those that impact people living with and at risk for HIV. NMAC will closely monitor the committee’s activities and keep its constituents abreast of any important developments.

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Fourth Circuit Dismisses Virginia Challenge to Affordable Care Act
Today, September 8, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals based in Richmond, Virginia, dismissed that state’s suit seeking to overturn the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) provision requiring all citizens to purchase health insurance, known as the individual mandate. The Court said that because the penalty for failing to purchase insurance falls on individuals, and not the State, Virginia did not have standing to file suit. The Court also wrote that Virginia’s law, the Virginia Health Care Freedom Act, passed after the ACA became law, does not give the State standing either. According to the panel of judges, Virginia lacks the “sovereign authority to nullify federal law.”

Today’s decision, however, only touched on the State of Virginia’s right to file suit, and not the constitutionality of the ACA. Other conflicting decisions out of the Sixth and Eleventh circuits almost certainly mean that the issue will come before the Supreme Court.

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House Committee Maintains HOPWA Funding
Back in session after an August recess, the Congress has begun work on the fiscal year 2012 budget. Yesterday, the House Appropriations Committee released its 2012 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Funding Bill. In it, the committee maintained funding for Housing Opportunities for People Living with AIDS at last year’s levels. Given House leadership’s focus on reducing spending, this continuation of last year’s funding, without cuts, is a promising development. Still, several other funding bills have yet to be released, including those for the Department of Health and Human Services, which funds various HIV/AIDS services from Ryan White programs to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

NMAC will closely monitor the appropriations process and update its constituents on any important developments.

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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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