Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Smith Amendment Fails

Amendment 2259 was offered by Senator Gordon Smith (Oregon) and considered by the Senate on Thursday. The purpose of the amendment was to appropriate an additional $72 million for AIDS Drug Assistance Programs. Unlike the Coburn amendment, this appropriation did not include an offset (taking money from some other program in order to pay for it). That meant that there had to be 60 senators in favor of the amendment's being voted on; otherwise it would be ruled out of order.

The vote was 46 in favor, 50 opposed. The amendment was ruled out of order and, therefore, failed. Texas Senators Hutchison and Cornyn voted "no."

The Texas HIV Medication Program, which would have benefited from the appropriation, still has a waiting list for Fuzeon and may have to use other cost containment measures within the next year or so. One wonders what alternatives Senators Hutchison and Cornyn have to offer.

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