Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

By the way, Congress actually has a function

You probably think that the main responsibilities of the United States Congress are to provide an internship opportunity for young people while protecting them from creeps; and to retroactively authorize the president to do whatever he is already doing, regardless of its legality. But those are actually a very minor part of their responsibilities. No doubt it will come as a surprise to even the most dedicated news junkie, but the Congress also passes statutes creating government programs, and appropriates money to operate them.

So I'll just change the subject for a teeny weeny moment and note that Congress adjourned without getting around to reauthorizing the Ryan White CARE Act, which provides essential services to people living with HIV. No doubt the lame duck Congress will pass the reauthorization after the rigged election in November. Right now, there is a proposal passed by the Republican House. (Democrats aren't allowed to participate in developing legislation.) It would authorize annual increases at about the rate of inflation, but since the HIV epidemic continues to spread beyond its original concentration in urban areas, that means there won't be enough money to go around. The Republican solution is to take money away from those Sodomite Democratic cities and give it to the honest Republican Christians of Kansas and Idaho.

According to the linked report from the Kaiser Family Foundation, "Some legislators from states with large urban areas -- including California, New Jersey and New York -- have opposed measures that would change CARE Act funding formulas, saying they could harm HIV/AIDS programs in areas with higher HIV prevalence." Indeed. But this is an issue of public policy, scarcely something that voters should be interested in.

No comments: