Aids activists barged into the congressional office of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy Monday to demand a five-year renewal of an AIDS treatment program.
The insurrectionists, as the Biden administration describes individuals who enter the Capitol buildings to disrupt proceedings, demanded a full-term reauthorization of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR.
The situation escalated as the activists occupied the speaker’s office, according to a report from Trending Politics that noted Capitol Police arrested six individuals.
The activists, vocalizing their demands with chants of “pass PEPFAR now,” were detained, handcuffed and escorted out of the premises, according to the report.
PEPFAR, established in 2003, has helped address the global AIDS epidemic. Its reauthorization has sparked debate about how long to commit to more funding for PEPFAR.
Some Republican House members expressed reservations about a full five-year extension for the AIDS program.
According to a report by Politico, discussions have arisen regarding the program’s efficacy and the distribution of its resources.
Initiated under the administration of President George W. Bush in 2003, PEPFAR allocates funds for HIV/AIDS treatment, prevention and care services in over 50 countries.
It emphasizes regions like sub-Saharan Africa, which has been severely impacted by the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Congress is likely to miss the Sept. 30 deadline to renew the law governing the United States’ global HIV/AIDS relief efforts, according to a Politico report.
Delaying PEPFAR reauthorization could transform a program responsible for saving 25 million lives into a recurring political dispute, complicating combating HIV and AIDS, the report noted.
Concerns have been raised by GOP House members and conservative advocates about a portion of PEPFAR’s nearly $7 billion annual budget being directed to abortion providers.
The Biden administration, PEPFAR leaders and external experts deny any PEPFAR money is used to fund abortions, according to the report.
House Global Health subcommittee chairman Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) supports reinstating antiabortion restrictions removed by the Biden administration in 2021.
The restrictions he wants to restore would prevent organizations receiving PEPFAR funds from utilizing other financial sources to offer or discuss abortions.
Scroll down to leave a comment and share your thoughts.