On Monday, left-wing activists stormed the office of Speaker Kevin McCarthy, demanding a full 5-year reauthorization of PEPFAR (President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief).
The incident saw activists occupying the Speaker’s office, leading to the arrest of six individuals by the Capitol Police.
The activists, who were chanting “pass PEPFAR now,” were lined up against the wall, handcuffed, and subsequently marched out in zip ties.
PEPFAR, which was initiated in 2003, has been instrumental in combating the global AIDS epidemic. However, its reauthorization has become a contentious issue, with some Republicans opposing a full 5-year extension.
They’re being marched out in zip ties, still chanting “pass PEPFAR now” pic.twitter.com/0ut2kHfSUG
— Alice Miranda Ollstein (@AliceOllstein) September 11, 2023
According to a Politico report, there have been debates about the program’s efficiency and the allocation of its funds. PEPFAR was launched in 2003 under President George W. Bush’s administration. The program provides funding for HIV/AIDS treatment, prevention, and care services in more than 50 countries, with a particular focus on sub-Saharan Africa, where the HIV/AIDS epidemic has been most severe.
Congress is almost certain to blow past a Sept. 30 deadline to re-up the law governing the United States’ global HIV/AIDS relief work as the widely praised program becomes mired in the fight over abortion.
Money for the program would continue so long as Congress keeps the government funded — an increasingly uncertain prospect as members with competing demands begin returning this week. But lawmakers in both parties see no clear path for reviving the law by the end of the year. While the program would limp on, the impasse threatens to turn an initiative credited with saving 25 million lives into an annual political battle, making it far more difficult for groups fighting HIV and AIDS to hire staff or launch long-term projects.
GOP House members and conservative advocates allege that some of PEPFAR’s nearly $7 billion annual budget flows to abortion providers — a charge the Biden administration, the program’s leaders and outside experts vehemently deny.
Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), who leads the House’s global health subcommittee that controls PEPFAR, is leading the charge against renewing the program until anti-abortion restrictions the Biden administration lifted in 2021 are reinstated. Those restrictions would block groups that receive PEPFAR funds from using other sources of money to provide abortions or even discuss them as an option.
Smith told POLITICO that he partnered with Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) and other Capitol Hill conservatives to lobby fellow Republicans in both chambers over the August recess, and said two arguments they made resonated with members. The first is that PEPFAR would have funding to operate even if the law governing the program lapses, and the second is that the Biden administration has “hijacked” the program to support abortion access overseas.
If these people aren’t locked up for 15+ years then it will be another clear sign that the justice system is one sided.
— Oscar Herrera (@OscarEnjoylife) September 11, 2023
Does her shirt say HIV Positive…lol
— Lucky (@luckylion23) September 11, 2023
I dunno. Looks like a seditious conspiracy to me, trespassing in a restricted area, and obstructing an official proceeding. Plus a terrorism enhancement.
20 year sentences sounds about right…
— Bob Dog (@BobDog19006) September 11, 2023
😂😂 yeah oh wait hold on those are Democrats
— Joe Biden Press Release (Parody) (@joebldenpress) September 11, 2023
it's only considered an insurection, when it is carried out by patriotic, family type conservatives.. remember antifa and blm can throw passive protests (that destroyed cities) under the new rules by our kagaroo justice system
— Joe Hughes (@JoeHComedian) September 11, 2023
Isn’t this an insurrection? Where are the Capital police? Where are the arrests? Will these insurrectionists be put in a DC jail for months and months awaiting charges and then given 22 year sentences?
— Mark Temons (@MTemons) September 11, 2023