Pelosi Wins House Minority Whip Position, Says She is Proud of Her Appropriations Committee Work to Increase HIV/AIDS Funding
House Democrats yesterday voted 118-95 to elect Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) as minority whip, the second-highest leadership position in the chamber, making the staunch supporter of HIV/AIDS funding the highest ranking woman in the House's history, the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Sandalow, San Francisco Chronicle, 10/11). Pelosi defeated the "slightly more moderate" Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) to succeed Rep. David Bonior (D-Mich.) as the party's vote-counter in the lower house (Borenstein, Contra Costa Times, 10/11). Pelosi has been the ranking Democrat on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations and the only California representative on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education and also serves on the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. She also serves as co-chair of the AIDS Task Force of the House Democratic Caucus (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/16). As the "prominent" Democrat on the Appropriations Committee, she said she was proudest of her efforts there to "increase very dramatically the funding for research, care and prevention for HIV and AIDS, both domestically and internationally" (Clymer, New York Times, 10/11). Some of Pelosi's contributions to the fight against HIV/AIDS include those listed below:
- Co-sponsored an amendment to the Agriculture Appropriations bill that would provide $25 million for USAID's Food for Peace Program to "reduce the burden of hunger" for people living with HIV/AIDS and orphaned children in developing nations;
- Co-sponsored the Vaccines for a New Millennium Act, legislation that provides incentives to private sector biotech and pharmaceutical companies to accelerate development of vaccines for tuberculosis, malaria and HIV/AIDS;
- Reintroduced the Early Treatment for HIV Act (HR 2063), which would expand Medicaid coverage to low-income people with HIV before a diagnosis of AIDS;
- Introduced the Microbicide Development Act of 2000 (HR 2405) to increase research and development of microbicides as a prevention tool against HIV/AIDS.