Capitol Police arrested leftist protesters on Monday who stormed and briefly occupied Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s office.
In a statement, Capitol Police confirmed that seven people were arrested after briefly occupying McCarthy’s office in the Rayburn House Office Building. They were charged with unlawful entry.
“This morning, multiple individuals were demonstrating inside a House Office Building. After the demonstrators refused to cease demonstrating, USCP then arrested the 4 males and 3 females for Unlawful Entry,” the agency said in a statement.
Video of the protesters occupying McCarthy’s office was posted to social media. In total, the protest reportedly lasted about 15 minutes.
“Pass PEPFAR now, McCarthy!” the protesters shouted.
Among those arrested were Charles King — CEO of Housing Works, a non-profit dedicated to combatting homelessness and HIV/AIDS — and Asia Russell, executive director of Health GAP, an organization that helps HIV-positive individuals afford their medications.
The activist group was demanding the reauthorization of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. The program, also known as PEPFAR, was launched in 2003 by then-President George W. Bush and is the largest global health initiative providing funding for the research, treatment, and prevention of HIV and AIDS. The program is credited with saving more than 25 million lives.
However, funding for PEPFAR — about $7 billion per year — will expire at the end of September unless Congress reauthorizes it.
But that reauthorization is jeopardized by Republican lawmakers who want to ensure that PEPFAR money does not fund abortions. Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) believes the Biden administration’s decision to lift funding restrictions enacted by the Trump administration is allowing PEPFAR funds to end up in the hands of pro-abortion groups.
Republicans want to restore those Trump-era restrictions, which prohibited U.S. funds from supporting abortion overseas.
The Biden administration, of course, denies that funds are being used to support abortion.
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