Bush Sez Speaker Pelosi, Dems Must Cut Labor-H Budget -- Hey Pelosi, Why Not Cut Ab-Only?
November 16, 2007
When President Bush vetoed the Labor Health and Human Services appropriations bill Tuesday, he told Congress to find programs to cut. We have just one enthusiastic recommendation: The shocking $176 million Congress approved for programs that teach abstinence-only sex education.
When Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) took control of the House, we expected a progressive voice who would champion science over politics. Instead, Pelosi oversaw a $28 million increase in Community-Based Abstinence Education funding in hopes of winning enough Republicans to support a veto-proof Labor HHS appropriations billl. Never mind that abstinence-only programs have been proven ineffective at reducing sexually transmitted infections and teenage pregnancies and completely ignore LGBT youth who can't get married (for a dose of outrage over the funding check out this Indianapolis Star op-ed).
What did Pelosi get for her pains? The House was still three votes short of withstanding a presidential veto, and, as of press time, the chance of an override looks slim to none.
But despite the heartbreak of the increase in abstinence-only funding, there are critical dollars for HIV/AIDS in the HHS bill, such as $84 million for the Ryan White CARE Act, including $33 million for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP), $6.2 million to HIV Prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and $1.1 billion to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and we can't afford to lose that funding.
Though a veto override seems highly unlikely, contact your representative and tell him or her when they have make some painful cuts, one decision should be easy: eliminating the $176 million for abstinence-only sex-education funding. Pelosi particularly needs to get a (wake up) call.
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This article was provided by Housing Works. It is a part of the publication Housing Works AIDS Issues Update. Visit Housing Works' website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.