This afternoon, the House passed the fiscal year 2010 Labor-Health and Human Services-Education appropriations bill by a vote of 264 to 153. The bill makes critical investments in our country’s long term prosperity by funding health, education and worker training initiatives, including NIH research, Pell Grants, Head Start and clean energy jobs.
The bill also ends a ban against federal funding for needle exchange programs, putting science first in our public health policy. Speaker Pelosi:
Sound science is an essential component of good public health policy, and the scientific support for needle exchange could not be more clear. The Centers for Disease Control, the National Institutes for Health, the World Health Organization, and former Surgeon General David Satcher have all confirmed the scientific evidence in support of needle exchange programs. These initiatives are an effective public health intervention that reduces the number of new HIV infections without increasing the use of illegal drugs.
By lifting the ban on federal funding for needle exchange, the language in the Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill reflects this sound science. Today's defeat of an amendment that would have reinstated the ban was a victory for science, for public health, for people living with HIV/AIDS, and for people at risk for HIV infection. As this bill moves forward, we must continue to ensure science comes first in our public health policy.
We simply cannot rest until we have done everything we can to prevent new HIV infections, including ensuring access to effective interventions such as needle exchange. We cannot rest until every person living with HIV has access to the care and medications they need to stay healthy. And we cannot rest until we have a cure.