Yesterday, President Obama released his funding proposal for the 2014 fiscal year.  While we share the concerns of our progressive allies about the impact of proposed reforms to entitlement programs on all Americans, we are also pleased to see the President’s commitment to improving the lives of LGBT people reflected in his budget.  We are still combing through the lengthy proposal, but we wanted to highlight a few key provisions that could benefit our community.

First, the proposed budget continues the President’s commitment to addressing the HIV/AIDS epidemic.  Even under tight spending constraints, it provides a $20 million increase for care and treatment programs under the Ryan White CARE Act and a $47 million increase for the AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAP), which help low-income individuals living with HIV obtain their medications.  The proposal also adds $10 million for HIV medical clinics to expand and improve systems that get people into care – and keep them there.  Finally, HIV/AIDS research would benefit from the $472 million increase provided to the National Institutes for Health.  

Second, the budget also reflects the administration’s desire to help our nation’s youth, including young LGBT people.  It creates a new grant program at the Department of Education extending $280 million for state and local education agencies to develop initiatives targeted to the needs of their students, including efforts to reduce bullying, harassment and violence.  As it has done in past years, the proposal also calls on Congress to cut the $5 million being wasted on long-disproven abstinence-only sex education programs. 

Third, for the first time, the President’s budget proposes extending health and retirement benefits to the domestic partners of federal employees.  The President has long supported the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act, legislation which would extend equal employment benefits to federal employees’ same-sex partners.  We are pleased to see him also propose the funding necessary in his budget to ensure that all federal workers receive the equal benefits that they have earned.    

We’ll continue to dig through the President’s proposal and monitor the federal budget process as it moves forward on Capitol Hill.  Stay tuned to our blog for updates.  You can also check out this White House fact sheet about what the budget means for the LGBT community.   

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