Policy & Politics

Washington D.C., Officials Urge Lawmakers to Block House Amendment That Would Impact Local Needle Exchange Programs

July 31, 2009

This week Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) and other Washington, D.C., officials "were racing to persuade congressional leaders to erase a House amendment that would essentially reinstate" a ban on using the district's tax dollars to fund needle exchange programs, the Washington Post reports. A House bill including an amendment addressing needle exchange approved last week, which gives the district its federal appropriation for fiscal year 2010, "would prohibit the city from providing money to any needle exchange program that operates within 1,000 feet of virtually any location where children gather," according to the Post. Norton said, "It essentially wipes out the program," adding that she is calling on other lawmakers to pay close attention to any similar language in the Senate's version of the bill, which is still in committee.  According to the Post, "If the Senate does not include a similar amendment in its version of the bill, members would iron out their differences in a conference committee after Congress returns from its August recess.  That's where [district] officials and AIDS activists hope to kill the amendment" (Fears, 7/31).

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