I have few regrets in my life. At the top of the list is the demise of two children in my womb, and one miscarriage. Next to that, I regret having said to a group of peers that my Uncle M. L. (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.) was a Republican. My Grandfather, Dr. Martin Luther King, Sr. was a registered Republican. Uncle M. L. was an independent. I assumed that since Granddaddy was a Republican, Uncle M. L. was too. After all, before the election of President John F. Kennedy, the majority of African American voters were Republicans. Granddaddy convinced a large block of Blacks to vote for President John Kennedy after he helped to get my uncle out of jail during those turbulent days. Uncle M. L. tended to vote Democrat, but remained independent because he found weaknesses in both parties. The truth of the matter is that God isn’t a Republican or a Democrat or a Tea Party voter. God doesn’t vote. The squabbling and division among the parties is tragic.
Wise Christian leaders such as Dr. Billy Graham and others who have visited the White House over the years to advise sitting presidents have focused on the times and not the parties. I’m beginning to understand the wisdom of such. As a result, I am no longer endorsing political candidates, choosing rather to vote responsibly and to follow the Bible instructions that we must pray for all people, including those in authority.
As a Christian leader and civil rights activist, Uncle M. L. followed a pattern of not publicly endorsing a U.S. political party or candidate. He wrote: “I feel someone must remain in the position of non-alignment, so that he can look objectively at both parties and be the conscience of both — not the servant or master of either.” In a 1958 interview, he expressed his view that neither party was perfect, saying, “I don’t think the Republican party is a party full of the almighty God nor is the Democratic party. They both have weaknesses … And I’m not inextricably bound to either party.”
As one who has been elected to office as a Georgia State Representative (D), served as a presidential appointee (R) and who has often voted as an Independent, I can truly say that we would all be better off without the political squabbles that tend to divide us.
Category Archives: Featured Political News
“Ideally, the government shut-down would motivate church thinkers more carefully to consider God’s vocation for the state.” — IRD President Mark Tooley
WASHINGTON, Oct. 4, 2013 /Christian Newswire/ — Shutdown of the U.S. government has elicited a spectrum of responses from church officials this week. Temperate responses from oldline Protestant agencies and officials contrast with a declaration by Sojourners’ Jim Wallis faulting “a clear hostility to government itself, government per se, from a group of political extremists that I believe is unbiblical.”
Most church pronouncements on the government shut-down have been mild. Unitarian Universalists, Bread for the World, Oldline Protestants (United Methodist, Evangelical Lutheran, Presbyterian Church USA, Episcopal Church) and the Islamic Society of North America declared they are “opposing efforts to allow the will of the few to threaten the common good.” But otherwise their statement is relatively benign.
Two United Methodist bishops have issued statements. Bishop Marcus Matthews of Washington, D.C. notes: “We are a nation that trusts in God.” And he warns against “finger-pointing,” while still aiming his own jibe against “efforts by a few to threaten the common good.”
Indiana Bishop Mike Coyner pondered “The Government We Deserve.” He notes: “All of the traits in Washington that we decry are actually an outgrowth of the messed-up values in our whole culture.” He faults Americans’ over spending, their “entitlement” attitude, and their “unruly behavior.”
Coyner suggests the answer is to be “honest about the nature of human sin” and “confess that we all are the root of the problems we see in Washington,” and “pray that God will forgive us for choosing the government we deserve.”
IRD President Mark Tooley commented:
“Church leaders urging prayers for God’s help are faithful to their churchly vocation. Picking partisan sides, or portraying government as primarily a cornucopia of endless entitlements, is not. Ideally, the government shut-down would motivate church thinkers more carefully to consider God’s vocation for the state, starting with Romans 13.”
PASADENA, Calif., Oct. 9, 2013 /Christian Newswire/ — The “Institute on the Constitution” has launched “The God And Government Project” the purpose of which is to remind elected officials, and those who seek civil government offices, that government is from God and their first duty must be to obey God and His Word (Romans 13.) John Lofton, Director of the Project says:
“Governments at all levels in our country — Federal, state and local — are in a chaotic mess because they have disregarded the Word of God which strictly limits what government is authorized to do. Sad to say there is almost no preaching on this important topic in our churches. But, Scripture makes it very clear that nations that ignore God, that refuse to kiss His blessed Son (Psalm 2), commit suicide. Godly government is the solution to the mess in Washington DC.”
“The God And Government Project” seeks volunteers from across the country to witness to their local governing bodies by reading prepared statements during the general comment period before meetings officially start.
“The God And Government Project” is an outreach mission of “Institute On The Constitution” which offers courses on the US Constitution and “The Duty of the Jury.” For details on these courses go to: TheAmericanView.com. Or call 866-730-9796.
To see a recent article about “The God And Government Project”go here, please.
UPDATE: It is now back online! Could it have anything to do with the backlash from citizens?
Obama once again shows where his priorities are.
If you go to www.amberalert.gov – the Amber Alert website for missing children, this is what you get:
However, Obama’s favorite golf course on Andrews Airforce Base remains open during the government shutdown. The grocery stores on Andrews Airforce Base are closed, so our service men and women now have to shop “at local stores that cost about 30 percent more.”
In addition to the golf course remaining open, Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move website also remains online and is fully functional.
CNN really isn’t having a very good week, thanks to the government shutdown and the opening of the ObamaCare insurance exchange websites. While the headlines have been full of unintended consequences of both of these events, from WWII veterans “storming” the monument to their service, to complaints about glitches on the ObamaCare websites, CNN has been forced into a corner over both of these stories.
Normally the network is extremely friendly to the Obama administration, so when the news is full of situations that are less-than-flattering for the president and Democrats, that spells trouble for CNN. Third quarter ratings put CNN between Fox News and MSNBC, but it’s not an enviable situation, given that MSNBC has been struggling to keep even a small share of viewers interested in viewing a 24/7 cable news source. Beyond the ratings issue, there is the news of the day dogging the network.
The Weekly Standard‘s Bill Kristol went after CNN’s Piers Morgan and Mark Lamont Hill over the government shutdown. Liberals have been trying to maintain that the shutdown is purely the fault of “Tea Party radicals” in the GOP, however those claims are going at least a little flat in the face of the fact that the GOP has been repeatedly making new offers and legislation to resolve the issues, and offering to sit down Democrats to negotiate a resolution. The primary bone of contention is ObamaCare, which the GOP is determined to halt, or at least slow down severely. And the ObamaCare system itself seems to be conspiring against liberal politicians and media like CNN in that battle. Attempts to access the ObamaCare website on-air at CNN and MSNBC failed, leaving anchors with no choice but to give up trying. But maybe those anchors should be happy they failed – McAfee, the internet security giant, issued a warning about potential phishing scams on the government websites. Their glitches make them a prime target for hackers, in the opinion of McAfee’s vice president, Gary Davis. All in all, it’s not a good week for CNN.
Irony of ironies. Or perhaps it’s just ideology of ideologies.
Here’s the ideology part. On Friday, September 20, 2013, Dear Leader Barack Hussein Obama announced tough new requirements for new coal-fired power plants. He is set to ban all future coal-fired power plant construction by regulatory fiat by having the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issue new regulations. This is a central part of Obama’s global warming prevention plan, because it will help end what he calls “the limitless dumping of carbon pollution” from coal-fired power plants. Obama said at Georgetown University on June 25, 2013:
“As a President, as a father, and as an American, I’m here to say we need to act.
I refuse to condemn your generation and future generations to a planet that’s beyond fixing. And that’s why, today, I’m announcing a new national climate action plan, and I’m here to enlist your generation’s help in keeping the United States of America a leader — a global leader — in the fight against climate change. [emphasis mine]
The only way coal-fired power plants can comply with his latest requirements is to capture carbon-dioxide emissions and stick them underground, but that is a costly process that hasn’t been demonstrated on a commercial scale before. There are currently two coal-fired power plants being built that will meet the new EPA regulations. They are in Canada’s Saskatchewan Province and in Kemper County MS.
But (and there’s always a “but” when Obama is involved) there two troubling facts about the Kemper County plant. First, the $4.3 billion Kemper County plant has been plagued with at least a $1.9 billion cost overrun. Southern Company, the power plant’s builder, explains the overrun as a byproduct of “first-of-a-kind technology.” That is precisely the technology needed to meet the new EPA regulations. Second, the Kemper County plant has received a $270 million grant from the Department of Energy (DOE) AND a $133 million investment tax credit.
So we taxpayers get it in the shorts in the form of higher electricity rates and by paying subsidies.
But wait, there’s more! Here’s the irony part. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 5th report (AR5) states that “computer predictions for global warming and the effects of carbon emissions have been proved to be inaccurate.” And that “computers may not have taken enough notice of natural variability in the climate, therefore exaggerating the effect of increased carbon emissions on world temperatures.”
As David Rose wrote, “A leaked copy of the world’s most authoritative climate study [AR5] reveals scientific forecasts of imminent doom were drastically wrong.” Rose also wrote “Last night Professor Judith Curry, head of climate science at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, said the leaked summary showed that ‘the science is clearly not settled, and is in a state of flux’.”
Obama promised in 2008 to “fundamentally transform America.” He has certainly done that, and this latest regulatory fiat continues his efforts. And he hasn’t let little things like facts stand in his way! Irony or Ideology, or some of both?
Please visit RWNO, my personal, very conservative web site!
The White House has expressed the President Obama is willing to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the UN, offering the possibility of warming relations between the two nations that have been at odds since the 1979 revolution in Iran. This is undoubtedly in response to a less militant veneer that Rouhani has brought to his office, since the end of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s departure. The change in posture in Iran has been credited to Rouhani being more “moderate” than his predecessor, however as far as Iran’s nuclear aspirations are concerned, it is important to remember that he had been instrumental in advancing the nuclear program in that nation for years.
While Obama may be open to trusting the new leadership in Iran, Israel is not so sure. The Israelis are acutely aware of Rouhani’s history in regard to Iran’s nuclear program, and are assuming that the new president is going to attempt to use a softer touch to get what the leaders in his nation want – nuclear capability. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has also pointed out that Rouhani’s claims that he does not intend to continue work on acquiring a nuclear weapon are “deceptive”.
“The Iranians are spinning stories in the media so that the centrifuges can keep on spinning,” Netanyahu said in a statement. “The true test is not in Rowhani’s words, but in the actions taken but the Iranian regime, which—while Rowhani is giving interviews—continues to push its nuclear program.”
The official Massachusetts State Police statement on the 5 men and 2 women arrested for trespassing near the largest man-made water reservoir in the U.S. just days after the Boston Marathon bombings is “no comment,” but that’s not the end of the story.
Publicly, MSP cannot legally release the names or other information about the 7 individuals because they haven’t been officially charged with any crimes, despite the state police department’s efforts to reverse that decision by a magistrate judge from the East Hampshire District Court which serves Belchertown, MA where the reservoir is located.
Clerk Randal Smith would not release the date of the judicial review of the clerk’s decision, citing statutes that require information be withheld from the public until a complaint is filed. Radio host and blogger Michael Graham has a bit more information, as provided by MSP Spokesperson David Procopio:
“In summary, the Quabbin case has not advanced at the Belchertown District Court since the original MSP appeal in May. At that time, the Assistant Clerk Magistrate determined that there was probable cause, yet ruled that no complaint would be filed. Subsequent to that finding, because we believe the complaint should issue so that there is a record of a charge against these individuals, we requested judicial review of the clerk’s decision (basically asking that a judge at the court review the case and issue the complaints).
We think it is important to create a record within the judicial system that the individuals were observed trespassing at a critical infrastructure site at an odd hour (around midnight or so) and gave the stated reason that they had professional and academic interest in engineering and wanted to observe the water storage structure.
Since that time, we have made periodic inquires to the court to determine the status of the case. After receiving your inquiry, we made inquiry of the court again today. Today’s inquiry resulted in the court telling us that the case will be heard by the Belchertown District Court Justice on either September 25th or October 2nd. When the appeal is heard, the Justice may make a summary finding or take it under consideration for a future finding.”
Perhaps the intense confidentiality and confusion related to the MSP complaint and any information on the individuals involved can be explained by the “on-going criminal matter” as described in the Freedom of Information Act request response from the Office of Chief Legal Counsel for the Massachusetts State Police. See page 2 of the response below.
Major media outlets have largely ignored any follow-up on this story, originally reported at CDN in May 2013. Shortly after the trespassing incident, padlocks were cut at an aqueduct in the area that provides drinking water for the greater Boston area.
To see the early coverage of the trespassing incident, click here:
Massachusetts State Police Unhappy With Clerk Decision
It’s been five years since Georgia enacted its Voter ID law, and it seems that the dire consequences predicted by the liberals have not happened. Contrary to their claims that the law would disenfranchise thousands of minority voters, the fact is that black and Hispanic voter turnout has increased dramatically, outpacing population growth.
Conversely, the law has not caused the discovery of rampant voter fraud either, as predicted by conservatives. While that may deflate the argument in other states that would seek to pass similar laws, the statistics do not necessarily prove there is no such thing as voter fraud. As the argument has gone in states where ID is not required for voting, proponents of Voter ID laws state they cannot prove there is fraud because no one is required to prove their identity in order to vote. The fact that Georgia has not seen cases of voter fraud since requiring ID doesn’t prove there were never cases of it in the first place. It merely proves that since people have to prove their identity in order to vote, they haven’t had any cases of people attempting to cast fraudulent ballots.
As for disenfranchising any voters, there were some voters whose ballots were not counted. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports:
Still, the law has had real and measurable effect for some voters: Since November 2008, the ballots of 1,586 Georgians didn’t count because of the law. (They arrived at the polls without a photo ID, cast provisional ballots, and did not return later with the required ID.) Overall, 13.6 million votes were cast in the state during the same period.
By the numbers, that works out to approximately 0.01% of all votes cast in Georgia since November 2008 were not counted as a result of people failing to comply with the Voter ID law there.
Office of George W. Bush
August 28, 2013
STATEMENT BY PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH
Laura and I are proud to join our fellow Americans in commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech.
When Reverend King came to Washington, D.C., in the summer of 1963, his purpose was to hold our Nation to the standards spelled out in the Declaration of Independence. He called all of us to live up to that document’s fundamental promise and the underpinning of our founding – that all of us are created equal and endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights. From the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, with thousands gathered around him, Dr. King looked out over the American capital and uttered simple, powerful words that changed the hearts of millions. The dream he had spread a message of hope, justice, and brotherhood that took hold in the hearts of men and women around the world.
Our country has come a long way since that bright afternoon 50 years ago; yet our journey to justice is not complete. Just to the East of the Lincoln Memorial, where President Obama will speak on Wednesday, stands the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. There on the National Mall our President, whose story reflects the promise of America, will help us honor the man who inspired millions to redeem that promise.
Dr. King was on this Earth just 39 years, but the ideals that guided his life of conscience and purpose are eternal. Honoring him requires the commitment of every one of us. There’s still a need for every American to help hasten the day when Dr. King’s vision is made real in every community – when what truly matters is not the color of a person’s skin, but the content of their character.
Laura and I thank the King family and all who work to carry on the legacy of a great man and the promise of a great Nation. May we continue to march toward the day when the dignity and humanity of every person is respected. And may God continue to bless America.
As Obama, the campaigner-in-chief, started a bus tour today touting his new plan to make college affordable, Twitter users decided to voice their own thoughts on his ideas. Like many liberal initiated hashtags, this one was hijacked by conservatives that are apparently fed up with government interference in all facets of life.
Of course the free market option was brought up, as was the logical result of easy loans for students. The more money the government makes available for students to borrow, the more colleges will charge for their services. Then there was one that points out something that really should remain in the back of the minds of everyone. Is this latest tour just another ploy to get the public focused on anything but the myriad of scandals that have been dogging this administration from practically the very beginning? That very well could be part of the case, but the most likely reason for this little tour is to solidify support of younger voters that have been straying away from the Democrat party.
Then there is Tim Wells (@rightwingnerd) that offers a couple priceless tidbits. Yes, Obama is interested in getting the student vote, but he’s also interested in keeping academia happy with him, especially since ObamaCare isn’t so popular on at least one campus. So, take from one pocket, while putting something in the other would be the theme for this trip. Also, pointing out the obvious, Wells shows that a college degree is not necessarily what one absolutely must have to be a success in life. BuzzFeed even offers a list of particularly successful folks that actually dropped out of school. One even made it to the White House.
Now, if you really want to find out about Obama’s new idea to tie federal aid packages to actual college costs, by all means take a look. However, one has to remember that this is an Obama plan. In order to be implemented, it will probably have to be shoved down the throats of the members of Congress, while they are told that they have to pass it to know what’s in it. There will be many promises about how it will help to reduce the costs of higher education, but because it is injecting more government money into the mix, it’s a fair guess that the schools will do exactly what was said previously – it will undoubtedly cause increases in tuition rates. And finally, there will be many corrections on the actual cost of the program, and eventually the CBO will come back with numbers that exceed initial estimates by trillions of dollars. Of course, those are all just guesses on how this will turn out, but educated ones, since we’ve heard this line before.
Ok, so it was a slip of the tongue, on-air on MSNBC. But, that doesn’t make it any less amusing, and who can pass up an opportunity to point out the stupidity of anything Al Sharpton happens to say?
It’s no secret that Ted Cruz is trying to make a preemptive strike against what probably should be considered inevitable complaints about the fact that he wasn’t born on U.S. soil. Not unlike John McCain, Cruz was born outside of the country, but is a U.S. citizen by merit of the fact that his mother is a U.S. citizen. Yes, this is the point where birthers should be shutting up about Obama, and possibly apologizing to everyone for all the rumors they sent flying over his citizenship status. As far as U.S. law is concerned, citizenship follows the mother – if your mother is a U.S. citizen, you could be born on the Moon, and still be a U.S. citizen. So, that whole “where was Obama actually born” thing shouldn’t have been the question – if there were questions to be raised, it should have been over his mother’s citizenship status at the time of his birth.
But this isn’t about picking on birthers. It’s about pointing out yet another in the long line of stupidity that we see practically daily from Sharpton. He started his career in the spotlight with a lie, so it makes sense that he should continue to keep trying to make himself relevant with silliness. One should not forget that he came to the political scene via the over-the-top political talk show “The Morton Downey, Jr. Show” in the 1980’s, pushing the sensational case of Tawanna Brawley. She lied about being raped by white men, but when she finally admitted that, instead of Sharpton going up in smoke, Downey was left holding the bag. Sharpton went on to play the race-baiting game to this day, and Downey’s television career went downhill fast.
As for Cruz, not only did Sharpton try to play the citizenship issue – in spite of it not being an issue in the first place – but he also decided it was good idea to say that the Senator is a “radical by choice.” Well, perhaps this one should be turned around on the old man trying to keep some semblance of relevancy. Would it really be such a bad thing if Cruz adopted that term? What is really wrong with running a campaign on being a conservative radical? There’s no doubt there’s at least one heavy-hitting conservative commentator out there that would say it would be a great idea. Maybe Cruz needs to look at what Alfonzo Rachel has to say about embracing our radical conservative roots. Cruz could run a campaign that suggests the radical notion of smaller government, free markets, lower taxes, real economic recovery, and maybe even a sensible energy policy – especially since we haven’t had an energy policy in years. Yes, Cruz is a radical. Now to see if he’ll actually embrace that concept, instead of letting the left use it as a weapon against him.
For your amusement, take a look at Sharpton pointing out that Cruz has been a Senator since birth – according to “experts” no less!
Lois Lerner, the woman who decided to plead the Fifth in a Congressional hearing even though she was completely innocent of wrongdoing, might not be so innocent after all. Apparently she had been using her personal email for work communications. Of course many Americans do this in private industry, but given her position, that is not permitted, at all. For what should be obvious reasons, many governmental employees are forbidden from using personal email accounts for work communications, and vice versa. This has been an issue not only in the IRS, but throughout the entire administration, especially in the context of what happened in Benghazi when Ambassador Chris Stevens was murdered. Now, it seems that Lerner may be guilty of the same questionable activities as other administration department members.
House Republicans on Tuesday asked an IRS official at the center of their probe into the agency targeting Tea Party groups for documents related to her personal email account, after learning she allegedly used the account for official business.
The request from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to official Lois Lerner states she sent documents related to her official duties from her IRS email account to an account labeled ‘Lois Home.’
“This raises some serious questions,” wrote committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif. “To understand the extent to which you may have used a non-official email account for official purposes, … we request that you produce all documents and communications housed in your msn.com account.”
Issa suggested such activity could violate federal records requirements, creates difficulties in filing Freedom of Information Act requests and “frustrates congressional oversight obligations.”
Beyond logistical issues for discovery in a Congressional investigation into the activities of Lerner’s office in regard to conservative organizations, this new development does not help her in her claims of innocence. Lerner should not be surprised if members of Congress start thinking that these communications were intentional, with the express purpose of hiding information. At the very least, it sheds doubt on her professionalism.
It’s just a few years down the road, so of course it’s time for the potential GOP candidates for the presidency to start posturing, preening, hinting, and overtly stating that they intend to toss their proverbial hats in the ring. On the latter, sort of, there is the infamous Donald “I’m going to run and then drop out early” Trump. This time, (like all other times?) he’s saying he’s got his money, and he’s ready to spend it to get the prize. Of course, some could say that a move to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. would be slumming for the billionaire.
“If I made a decision, I’d spend a lot,” he said in an interview with ABC News, acknowledging the race would likely cost half a billion dollars or more. “If I did it, I’d spend whatever it took.”
It’s early, so who knows? Maybe dear old Donald will end up dropping out before the race even really begins.
What GOP primary circus would be complete without Rick Santorum? It’s no surprise that he’s already glad-handing in Iowa – maybe hoping for another at-least-a-little-more-fruitful victory there this time around. But will he be able to keep the momentum once he breaks out of the bible-belt? Given his current vocation – CEO of a Christian film company – the better money is on a tepid response from the not-so-religious right.
Yes, it is very early to be talking about he presidential primary, but there are already polls out there – ones that are undoubtedly at least a little disturbing to the ones that are showing early interest in running. And maybe Santorum and Trump missed the headlines about Chris Christie – he’s leading in a couple presidential polls. Again, it’s early. Also, the likelihood that the GOP will end up attempting to go “Big Tent”, draw in as many middle-ground voters that are disillusioned with Obama, and attempt to be welcoming of anyone leaning even slightly right – or at least giving a damn about freedom – is about as likely as the devil starting a snow-cone business in hell. So, Christie probably should frame those news stories, and save them for posterity. That popularity isn’t likely to last once the calls of RINO start again in earnest about him.
Executive Order — HIV Care Continuum Initiative
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ACCELERATING IMPROVEMENTS IN HIV PREVENTION AND CARE IN THE UNITED STATES THROUGH THE HIV CARE CONTINUUM INITIATIVE
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in order to further strengthen the capacity of the Federal Government to effectively respond to the ongoing domestic HIV epidemic, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Policy. Addressing the domestic HIV epidemic is a priority of my Administration. In 2010, the White House released the first comprehensive National HIV/AIDS Strategy (Strategy), setting quantitative goals for reducing new HIV infections, improving health outcomes for people living with HIV, and reducing HIV-related health disparities. The Strategy will continue to serve as the blueprint for our national response to the domestic epidemic. It has increased coordination, collaboration, and accountability across executive departments and agencies (agencies) with regard to addressing the epidemic. It has also focused our Nation’s collective efforts on increasing the use of evidence-based approaches to prevention and care among populations and in regions where HIV is most concentrated.
Since the release of the Strategy, additional scientific discoveries have greatly enhanced our understanding of how to prevent and treat HIV. Accordingly, further Federal action is appropriate in response to these new developments. For example, a breakthrough research trial supported by the National Institutes of Health showed that initiating HIV treatment when the immune system was relatively healthy reduced HIV transmission by 96 percent. In addition, evidence suggests that early treatment may reduce HIV-related complications. These findings highlight the importance of prompt HIV diagnosis, and because of recent advances in HIV testing technology, HIV can be detected sooner and more rapidly than ever before.
Based on these and other data, recommendations for HIV testing and treatment have changed. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force now recommends that clinicians screen all individuals ages 15 to 65 years for HIV, and the Department of Health and Human Services Guidelines for Use of Antiretroviral Agents now recommends offering treatment to all adolescents and adults diagnosed with HIV.
Furthermore, ongoing implementation of the Affordable Care Act provides a historic opportunity for Americans to access affordable, quality health care. The Act is expanding access to recommended preventive services with no out-of-pocket costs, including HIV testing, and, beginning in 2014, insurance
companies will not be able to deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions, including HIV. Starting October 1, 2013, Americans can select the coverage that best suits them through the new Health Insurance Marketplace, and coverage will begin January 1, 2014.
Despite progress in combating HIV, important work remains. Since the publication of the Strategy, data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that there are significant gaps along the HIV care continuum — the sequential stages of care from being diagnosed to receiving optimal treatment. Nearly one-fifth of the estimated 1.1 million people living with HIV in the United States are undiagnosed; one-third are not linked to medical care; nearly two-thirds are not engaged in ongoing care; and only one-quarter have the virus effectively controlled, which is necessary to maintain long-term health and reduce risk of transmission to others.
In light of these data, we must further clarify and focus our national efforts to prevent and treat HIV infection. It is the policy of my Administration that agencies implementing the Strategy prioritize addressing the continuum of HIV care, including by accelerating efforts to increase HIV testing, services, and treatment along the continuum. This acceleration will enable us to meet the goals of the Strategy and move closer to an AIDS-free generation.
Sec. 2. Establishment of the HIV Care Continuum Initiative. There is established the HIV Care Continuum Initiative (Initiative), to be overseen by the Director of the Office of National AIDS Policy. The Initiative will mobilize and coordinate Federal efforts in response to recent advances regarding how to prevent and treat HIV infection. The Initiative will support further integration of HIV prevention and care efforts; promote expansion of successful HIV testing and service delivery models; encourage innovative approaches to addressing barriers to accessing testing and treatment; and ensure that Federal resources are appropriately focused on implementing evidence-based interventions that improve outcomes along the HIV care continuum.
Sec. 3. Establishment of the HIV Care Continuum Working Group. There is established the HIV Care Continuum Working Group (Working Group) to support the Initiative. The Working Group shall coordinate Federal efforts to improve outcomes nationally across the HIV care continuum.
(a) Membership. The Working Group shall be co-chaired by the Director of the Office of National AIDS Policy and the Secretary of Health and Human Services or designee (Co-Chairs). In addition to the Co-Chairs, the Working Group shall consist of representatives from:
(i) the Department of Justice;
(ii) the Department of Labor;
(iii) the Department of Health and Human Services;
(iv) the Department of Housing and Urban Development;
(v) the Department of Veterans Affairs;
(vi) the Office of Management and Budget; and
(vii) other agencies and offices, as designated by the Co-Chairs.
(b) Consultation. The Working Group shall consult with the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS, as appropriate.
(c) Functions. As part of the Initiative, the Working Group shall:
(i) request and review information from agencies describing efforts to improve testing, care, and treatment outcomes, and determine if there is appropriate emphasis on addressing the HIV care continuum in relation to other work concerning the domestic epidemic;
(ii) review research on improving outcomes along the HIV care continuum;
(iii) obtain input from Federal grantees, affected communities, and other stakeholders to inform strategies to improve outcomes along the HIV care continuum;
(iv) identify potential impediments to improving outcomes along the HIV care continuum, including for populations at greatest risk for HIV infection, based on the efforts undertaken pursuant to paragraphs (i), (ii), and (iii) of this subsection;
(v) identify opportunities to address issues identified pursuant to paragraph (iv) of this subsection, and thereby improve outcomes along the HIV care continuum;
(vi) recommend ways to integrate efforts to improve outcomes along the HIV care continuum with other evidence-based strategies to combat HIV; and
(vii) specify how to better align and coordinate Federal efforts, both within and across agencies, to improve outcomes along the HIV care continuum.
(i) Within 180 days of the date of this order, the Working Group shall provide recommendations to the President on actions that agencies can take to improve outcomes along the HIV care continuum.
(ii) Thereafter, the Director of the Office of National AIDS Policy shall include, as part of the annual report to the President pursuant to section 1(b) of my memorandum of July 13, 2010 (Implementation of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy), a report prepared by the Working Group on
Government-wide progress in implementing this order. This report shall include a quantification of progress made in improving outcomes along the HIV care continuum.
Sec. 4. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department, agency, or the head thereof; or
(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(b) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
SOURCE: The White House