Washington, D.C. - Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks on the House floor today to mark the return of the International AIDS Conference to Washington, D.C. this week. Below are the Leader's remarks:
“Thank you Madam Speaker and I thank the gentleman for the courtesy of allowing me to speak at this time. I want to join my colleague, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, in acknowledging that this weekend we will begin the International AIDS Conference. It will come to America with a fitting theme: ‘Turning The Tide Together.' It's a long history - in 1990 expert scientists and political officials from across the globe gathered in San Francisco, in my district, for the International AIDS Conference, to turn our promise of leadership into progress.
“Since that time, however, the conference has never returned to an American venue. For two decades the organizers refused to, pointing to our longtime shameful travel ban on those with HIV/AIDS. Next week when the conference assembles right here in our nation's capital the world will see how far we've come. Together we will commit to turning the tide, as the theme indicates, toward the next phase in our fight - fewer infections, a cure, and an end to HIV/AIDS.
'Consider what this Congress has done: funding Ryan White Care Act, creating Housing Opportunities for People with HIV, expanding access to Medicaid for people with HIV, but not full blown AIDS - and that's an early intervention - increased investments in research, care, treatment, and prevention by more than half a billion dollars. And [in] response to global challenge and the leadership of Congresswoman Barbara Lee we have supported global solutions, increasing funding for the bilateral AIDS efforts during the Clinton Administration, making the first American contribution, Congresswoman Lee, to the Global Fight to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria in 2000. Working with President's Bush and Obama to establish PEPFAR. I know that it is a source of great pride to President George W. Bush, the leadership he provided, the support he gave, the pride I think he takes in PEPFAR, and we salute him for that. As President Obama has continued that work, we're doubling the support for global health initiatives and doubling our investment in the global fund.
“These commitments and more help families in the United States, in the villages of Africa, in communities worldwide. These actions have saved lives but there's much more to do. And with the International AIDS Conference coming to Washington, D.C. we have an opportunity to recommit ourselves to a cause for a world without HIV/AIDS. That is the challenge, that is the goal. We can turn the tide together. In 25 years in Congress, little surprises me anymore but one thing that does is that after all this time we still do not have the cure, but we're hopeful. But we're hopeful. And with the AIDS Conference, when it opens its doors next week, we must stand united in our pledge to discover a cure and raise up an AIDS free generation. Science is making progress, we have a moral obligation to support that. It has been done in a bipartisan way under President Bush's leadership, under President Clinton, under President Obama. Hopefully we can continue to do that. We can and we must work together to make HIV/AIDS a very, very sad memory and certainly not part of our future.
“I thank you Congresswoman Lee for your tremendous leadership locally and globally and in every way. And certainly in this Congress of the United States. With that Madam Speaker I yield back the balance of my time.”