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Congresswoman Maxine Waters

Representing the 43rd District of California

Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Modernization Act of 2006

August 5, 2009
Floor Statement
Rep. Maxine Waters [D-CA]: Mr. Speaker, I came to this floor really intending to support this bill. But, you know, I am not going to do it. I am not going to support this bill. It is not worth the paper it is written on.

Here we are fighting with each other, people from New York and California and places fighting with people from the South because we have a piece of legislation that is pitting us against each other instead of funding what needs to be funded with HIV and AIDS.

Over 1 million people in the United States have HIV/AIDS. African Americans are only 13 percent of the population, but we account for a half of all the new AIDS cases. African American women represent 71 percent of the new AIDS cases among women, and African American teenagers represent 66 percent of the new AIDS cases among teenagers.

The Congressional Black Caucus has been struggling and working, and I have been working on this for 15 years. We are spending $2 billion a week in Iraq. We only need $1 billion more to fund all of these programs adequately. What are we doing? Let's not play with this. Don't accept this. Don't pit yourself against your friends and your colleagues. Tear it up. It is not worth the paper it is written on. Vote "no" on this bill. Throw it out and let's start all over again next year.

I am with my friends from New York. I support the South. But let's not be scrambling over pennies. People are dying. And don't tell me we don't have the resources to deal with it. Even if you didn't spend $2 billion a week in Afghanistan, in Iraq, we would be able to fund this adequately.

Somebody does not care that Americans are dying. Somebody doesn't give a darn that it is decimating black populations. Let's stop playing the game. Let's stop it today. Stop this bill. Don't think you're so desperate you have to vote for anything in order to get a little something. Throw it out. It's not worth it.