Pubdate: Thu, 28 Oct 1999
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Copyright: 1999 The Washington Post Company
Address: 1150 15th Street Northwest, Washington, DC 20071


A House-Senate committee approved a version of the District's budget
yesterday that includes a compromise on a needle exchange program for drug

The committee, set up to reconcile differences between the House and Senate
versions of the city's fiscal 2000 budget, agreed to a Senate plan to allow
privately funded clinics such as the Whitman-Walker Clinic to distribute
needles to drug addicts without losing federal funds. Doctors say clean
needles curb the spread of HIV and AIDS, but some House Republicans say the
practice encourages drug abuse.

The committee kept a ban on the city's legalizing marijuana for medical
reasons, even though 70 percent of residents approved the practice in a

The city's appropriations bill is scheduled to be voted on by the House
today. GOP leaders attached a labor, education and health and human
services spending bill to it, which President Clinton has said he would veto.

If that happens, the D.C. bill would return to lawmakers, who could change
the needle language--or anything else--again.

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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake