Friday, March 2, 2012

Congress Makes the Grade; But More Work Needs to be Done

What a difference a year makes! When the ADAP Advocacy Association issued its 2011 Congressional ADAP Scorecard earlier this week, it yielded an overall favorable assessment on how the AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPs) fared last year in Congress. The scorecard demonstrated a marked improvement over last year because the vast majority of both the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate received passing grades; Republicans and Democrats both supported an additional $48 million in federal funding, which contributed to the improved rankings last year. The grades represented a complete reversal from 2010, when the entire Congress received a failing grade (which reflected how the partisan gridlock hampered progress on proven programs like ADAP).

House Members were evaluated using a 10-point scale and Senate Members using a 5- point scale. The House evaluation included Congressional HIV/AIDS Caucus membership, issuance of public statements on ADAP, support for the Hastings Amendment, support for H.R.1473, H.R.1774, H.R.2055, H.R.2954, H.R.3053 and H.R.3547, and finally opposition to H.R.1. The Senate evaluation included Congressional HIV/AIDS Caucus membership, issuance of public statements on ADAP, support for H.R.1473 and H.R.2055, as well as support for S.Res.162.

Rep. Hank JohnsonIn the U.S. House of Representatives, 59 received a failing grade (or 13%) and 384 received a passing grade (or 87%); among the passing grades, 241 were issued a “Pass” grade, 122 were issued a “Pass with Honors” grade and 23 were issued a “Pass with Excellence” grade. Only Democrats received a “Pass with Excellence” grade. Among Republicans, 57 received a “Fail” grade, 182 received a “Pass” grade and one (1) received “Pass with Honors” grade. Meanwhile, 59 Democrats garnered “Pass” grades and 119 earned “Pass with Honors” grades. Two (2) Democrats failed under the rankings. Democratic Representative Henry “Hank” Johnson (GA-4) had the highest score among House Members with a nine rating (photo seen right). Democratic Representatives Raul Grijalva (AZ-7), Michael Honda (CA-15), Donald Payne (NJ-10), Adam Schiff (CA-29), Jose Serrano (NY-16) and Edolphus Towns (NY-10) scored an eight rating, while the following Democrats received a seven rating: Donna Christensen (Del-V.I.), Hansen Clarke (MI-13), Wm. Lacy Clay (MO-5), Stev Cohen (TN-9), John Conyers, Jr. (MI-14), Bob Filner (CA-51), Alcee Hastings (FL-23), Jesse Jackson, Jr. (IL-2), Barbara Lee (CA-9), Eleanor Holmes Norton (Del, D.C.), Mike Quigley (IL-5), Charles Rangel (NY-15), Laura Richardson (CA-37), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-20), Maxine Waters (CA-35) and Lynn Woolsey (CA-6).

In the U.S. Senate, eighty-five (85) passing grades were issued to Senators as were fifteen (15) failing grades. Only two “Pass with Excellence” scores were issued (Republican Senator Johnny Isakson of Georgia and Independent Senator Bernard Sanders of Vermont, both seen below respectively). Among Republicans, 12 received a “Fail” grade, 32 received a “Pass” grade and three (3) received a “Pass with Honors” grade; Democrats had two (2) “Fail” grades, 35 “Pass” grades and 13 “Pass with Honors” grades.

Sen. Johnny Isakson
Sen. Bernard Sanders
The scorecard can be viewed online:

Last year once again demonstrated the bipartisan support for ADAPs. Despite a budgetary climate on Capitol Hill focused on balancing the budget by reducing federal spending, it was a significant victory for ADAP stakeholders to garner the congressional support for more federal funding. While more work needs to be done to eliminate the ADAP waiting lists nationwide, 2011 represents a solid foundation by which progress can be achieved on this issue.

No comments: