Obama: 2013 budget invests in LGBT security

President Barack Obama’s proposed 2013 budget, submitted today to Congress, seeks to “construct an economy that is built to last and provide security for the LGBT community, while continuing to defend their rights.”

The budget plan posted by the White House emphasizes “fair” – as in getting a fair shot and doing a fair share.

In terms of the LGBT community, the president’s budget proposes to:

• Strengthen anti-discrimination enforcement by continuing to invest in strengthening “civil rights enforcement against racial, ethnic, sexual orientation, religious, gender and gender identity discrimination” and increasing funding for the Justice Department to fight hate crimes.

• Support federal employee domestic partner benefits that would be provided for with passage of the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act of 2009. The benefits would include health insurance, survivor annuities, compensation for work-related injuries, travel and relocation benefits, life insurance, and vision and dental benefits.

• Combat hate crimes with continued investment in civil rights enforcement.

• Support the National HIV/AIDS Strategy and Expand Investments in Prevention, Care and Research with expanded access to HIV/AIDS prevention and care activities. The budget, according to a fact sheet released on Feb. 13, prioritizes HIV/AIDS resources within high-burden communities and among high-risk groups. Compared to 2012, the budget increases domestic discretionary HIV/AIDS funding at the Health and Human Services Department by $119 million and Veterans Affairs HIV/AIDS funding by $74 million. Overall, total U.S. government-wide spending on HIV/AIDS would increase by $800 million in 2013.

• Expand the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program. The budget includes an increase of $75 million for care and treatment through the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program. The budget includes $1 billion for AIDS drug assistance programs, an increase of $67 million above 2012 levels to expand access to life saving HIV-related medications for uninsured and underinsured people living with HIV/AIDS. Based on current projections, this increase in funding for ADAP, combined with sufficient state contributions, will eliminate ADAP waiting lists in 2013. The budget also increases funding for the Ryan White Part C program by $15 million to expand access to critical early intervention and primary care services for the most vulnerable populations living with HIV/AIDS. To address the disproportionate impact of HIV/AIDS on communities of color, there is an $8 million increase in funding above 2012 for Ryan White Minority AIDS Initiative activities, totaling $169 million in 2013.

• Support housing assistance for people living with HIV/AIDS. The president’s Budget requests $330 million for HUD’s Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS program, to address housing needs among people living with HIV/AIDS and their families.

• Combat violence and the bullying of children with $86 million in grants to states and local educational agencies under the Department of Education’s Successful, Safe, and Healthy Students program. State and local grants would support the development and implementation of comprehensive strategies, which are designed to continuously measure and improve conditions for learning and student outcomes. That includes activities aimed at preventing and reducing substance use, violence, harassment or bullying, and promoting student mental, physical and emotional health.

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