LGBT Activists’ Arrest
- A group of LGBT activists, affiliated with Housing Works and Health GAP, entered House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s Capitol Hill office.
- The intent was to highlight the need for the federal AIDS relief program, PEPFAR.
- They were subsequently arrested by the U.S. Capitol Police for causing a disruption.
BREAKING: Activists are occupying @SpeakerMcCarthy’s office demanding a full 5 year reauthorization of PEPFAR, which some Rs are opposing. Background: https://t.co/nQVnCxPDE0 pic.twitter.com/wCZx4Z6wzu
— Alice Miranda Ollstein (@AliceOllstein) September 11, 2023
January 6th Comparisons Spark Outrage
- Richard “Bigo” Barnett was sentenced to 54 months in prison for non-violent offenses related to the events of January 6th.
- During that incident, he entered the office of the Speaker of the House, who was Rep. Nancy Pelosi at the time, and placed his feet on her desk.
- Many people are upset about the disparity in the treatment of leftist protestors, which appears to be more lenient and forgiving compared to the treatment of Richard “Bigo” Barnett, a 63-year-old retired firefighter.
PEPFAR’s History and Impact
- PEPFAR stands for “United States President’s Emergency Response For AIDS Relief,” launched by President George W. Bush in 2003.
- The program funds HIV/AIDS treatment, prevention, and cure research.
- As of 2022, nearly $100 billion has been disbursed through the program, with claims of saving around 25 million lives.
- Some Republicans criticize PEPFAR, alleging misuse of funds for abortions abroad, potentially violating the Helms Amendment.
- Republican Rep. Chris Smith pushes for PEPFAR’s reauthorization to exclude abortion support.
- Democrats, including Sen. Robert Menendez, have opposed this, citing it as an attempt to politicize the program.