Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi

 

Pelosi on the Fiscal Year 2002
Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill

                                                    October 11, 2001

 

Yesterday Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Committee member Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-SF) spoke in favor of the FY 2002 Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill. The bill includes funding for education, health care, and labor programs. It passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 373-43.

Mr. Chairman, I commend Chairman Regula and Ranking Member Obey for their leadership on the Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee. This is a difficult time for our nation, and this can be a difficult bill to pass because it addresses important needs that we all feel passionate about - health care, education, and a strong work force. The Appropriations Committee has risen to this challenge and I am proud of the bipartisan bill that has been produced.

One challenge has been particularly prominent in the minds of all Americans since the September 11th attacks is the threat of bio-terrorism. On the Intelligence Committee, where I serve as the Ranking Democrat, we have studied the threat posed by biological and chemical agents and our nationís ability to respond. Great strides have been made in recent years, but we must strengthen the ability of our public health infrastructure to detect and contain an attack, and treat its victims. This bill provides an increase of $60 million to improve surveillance and strengthen our medical response.

In addition, $20 million has been included for pilot projects to explore the feasibility of developing a Nationwide Health Tracking Network among all States to identify and track disease and related environmental factors. The CDC will use this and increased funding for its environmental health lab to rapidly assess human exposure to environmental toxins, including biological and chemical agents.

I am also pleased that HIV/AIDS care and treatment through the Ryan White Care Act is has been increased by $112 million, and HIV prevention at the CDC has been increased by $86 million. My community in San Francisco has been devastated by this terrible epidemic, but we have seen tremendous progress over the past decade as the resources available to fight HIV/AIDS have been increased.

As new infections remain steady and treatment advances reduce the number of AIDS deaths, more people than ever are living with HIV/AIDS and in need of treatment regimens that are costly, complicated, & lifelong.

These needs are especially critical for communities of color, where the majority of new AIDS cases are occurring, and I am particularly pleased that funding for the Minority HIV/AIDS Initiative is increased by $37 million. Greater access to voluntary counseling & testing, stronger linkages between prevention & treatment, improved access to AIDS drugs, and a reduction in new HIV infections worldwide are vital, and will require significantly more resources than we currently provide.

This June marked 20 years since the first case of AIDS was diagnosed. Many of us spoke on the House floor about the impact of this epidemic on our constituents. My community in San Francisco has been devastated by this terrible epidemic, but we have seen tremendous progress over the past decade as the resources available to fight HIV/AIDS have been increased.

We must continue to increase these resources, and commit ourselves to ensuring that the third decade of the AIDS epidemic is the last decade of the AIDS epidemic. The increases that are provided in this bill are an important step forward.

For the fourth year in a row, we have provided dramatic increases in biomedical research at the National Institutes of Health. In addition to progress in the search for better treatments and, eventually, a vaccine for AIDS, these investments are yielding phenomenal progress in our understanding of the human body and how we are affected by our environment.

Additional resources have also been provided for child care, breast and cervical cancer screening, drug treatment, bilingual education, worker safety, and many other important areas. This progress is promising, and I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to address the unmet health, education, and labor needs that remain. I urge my colleagues to support the Labor-Health and Human Services-Education Appropriations bill.

 


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