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SEPTEMBER 21, 2012
Michael Kaplan to Take Helm of AIDS United

The Board of Trustees of AIDS United has named 20-year HIV/AIDS and LGBTQ community leader Michael Kaplan as President and CEO.  Kaplan will take the helm of the organization full-time effective December 1st, 2012, but will begin working with staff on a part-time basis in mid-October. 

Kaplan comes to AIDS United from Cascade AIDS Project (CAP) in Portland, Oregon, where he has served as Executive Director since September, 2008. During his tenure at CAP, Kaplan substantially increased the organization’s financial resources and solidified its financial position; broadened Board diversity and expanded its membership; and orchestrated a re‐organization that streamlined expenditures while expanding program services and improving fundraising results.  Under Kaplan’s leadership, CAP was rated for the first time as one of the ten most admired non‐profits in Oregon in 2009 by over 1,000 CEOs, and was selected as one of the "Best 100 Non‐Profits to Work For" in Oregon in 2010 & 2011.

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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.

Congressional Update II:
Countdown to Sequestration

One hundred and two days to the dreaded sequester.

Last year, as part of the Budget Control Act (BCA) legislation, Congress put in place a mechanism to trigger automatic spending cuts that both sides of the political spectrum hated to ensure that a compromise on deficit reduction was reached. A compromise was not found, so the automatic cuts, known as sequestration, will occur on January 2nd unless Congress takes action before that time. Avoiding the sequester is a top priority for the lame duck Congressional session.

The Office of Management and Budget complied with a recently enacted law to produce a report on how sequestration would be implemented. On September 14 th the Obama administration released the report showing estimated spending cuts program-by-program. The report estimates most programs, including domestic health and public health programs, would be cut by 8.2% if sequestration is carried out. These cuts would be on top of the cuts already enacted under the BCA.

Washington Post columnist Ezra Klein has renamed sequestration with a longer but more accurate description: "The Big Dumb Spending Cuts That Nobody Wants." Klein was featured in a segment on MSNBC's The Ed Show with Bob Greenstein, President and Founder of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP). To watch the full segment, including Greenstein's comments, click here . The interview with Greenstein begins at 5:15 min mark - ends at 8:30 min mark.

Multiple groupings of Congress Members are meeting to work on plans, both grand scale and stop-gap, to avoid the sequester. Stop gap plans would give Congress time to make realistic deficit reduction proposals, including tax reform to increase revenue and more thought out plans to cut spending for defense and non-defense discretionary programs. President Obama continues to state he will not sign any legislation to change the sequester that does not include both revenue enhancements and spending cuts. Nearly all the plans suggested so far have only included spending cuts. AIDS United has continuously called for a balanced approach to solve the fiscal crisis facing the country with increased revenue and smart cuts to all programs, including defense.

We continue to need to educate the community and Members of Congress on the importance of the non-defense discretionary portfolio, which includes HIV-related spending, both domestic and global. For a tool kit created by the Non-Defense Discretionary Summit to help educate all sides please click here.

For a Kaiser Health News analysis of sequestration on Medicare, see:

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/Stories/2012/September/14/sequestration-and-medicare.aspx

Click here for a statement from the Coalition for Health Funding on the sequester: http://publichealthfunding.org/uploads/CHF_OMB_Statement.pdf

Elections 2012: Make Your Voice Heard!

The one thing we can all agree on is that all of the important decisions to be made will depend on the outcome of the November elections. These elections are critical and it is essential for all of us to be engaged. Click here for a blog by Jessica Terlikowski, AIDS United’s Director of Regional Organizing, on the importance of mobilizing voters in our communities for the upcoming elections, what YOU can do to help mobilize them!

September 27 is National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

Men who have sex with men (MSM) remain the population most affected by the HIV epidemic, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NGMHAAD), September 27, is an opportunity for gay men everywhere to recommit to the fight to ending the epidemic.  Started in 2008 by the National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA), NGMHAAD calls on gay men to lead the movement to end the epidemic by knowing their status, demanding access to care and support services for those who are positive, and using safer practices consistently to prevent further transmission.

AIDS United's Interim President  Victor Barnes will speak at the NGMHAAD press conference on September 27 at Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C., and Vice President of Policy and Advocacy Ronald Johnson will serve as a panelist during the NGMHAAD conference in Washington, D.C. on September 28.  For more information about NGMHAAD, click here.


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