Marjorie Taylor Greene says “American taxpeople” want cuts to USAID for helping fight HIV abroad

Washington, DC, USA; Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga) before President Joe Biden delivers the State of the Union address to Congress at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on March 7, 2024.
Washington, DC, USA; Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga) before President Joe Biden delivers the State of the Union address to Congress at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on March 7, 2024. Photo: Jack Gruber / USA TODAY NETWORK

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) introduced an amendment to cut USAID’s (United States Agency for International Development) budget by $1.6 billion, calling the spending “wasteful.” To support her claim, she read statistics about USAID’s success in fighting the global HIV/AIDS epidemic.

USAID is the federal agency that administers foreign aid and developmental assistance worldwide, and this isn’t the first time it has come under attack from conservatives in the House. But instead of saying why she believes USAID is spending its budget badly, Greene took another tactic in her floor speech: she listed programs USAID has implemented to fight HIV/AIDS.

“Among the wasteful things USAID has funded,” Greene said, “are programs like $385 million ‘Dreams Initiative: Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, mentored and safe, a program under PEPFAR which aims to reduce rates of HIV among adolescent girls around the world.”

“We certainly care about girls around the world,” Greene said sarcastically, “but we really care about our American taxpayers helping Americans at home.”

She then pointed out that sex workers have gotten HIV medication from the program. “Again, the American people are over $34.5 trillion in debt,” she said.

Greene pointed out some USAID programs help “women, men, girls, boys, and those of other – other – gender identities – by the way, there aren’t any, there’s only two” get HIV treatment and prevention services.

She then continued to read statistics about how USAID helps fight global HIV, including how one program resulted in increased testing for HIV and increased medical care for people who test positive.

“Meanwhile, the fentanyl drug crisis continues to rage across America!” she said as a rejoinder to the successes of USAID. “But we continue to fund USAID with billions of dollars to address AIDS and other diseases all over the world. We should be caring about Americans. And we should be funding the treatment for Americans here at home from a weapon of mass destruction that is murdering Americans every single day.”

“The American taxpeople [sic] are funding this, and the American taxpeople want their problems solved.”

She then accused USAID of being “Democrat” because many of its employees support Democratic candidates.

Last year, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) introduced a bill to abolish USAID, arguing that the group has a “perverse ideology” because it helped LGBTQ+ people and women.

The bill’s text said that USAID gave $1 million of its $27 billion annual budget – or less than 0.004% of its yearly funds – to the United Nations for “LGBTI human rights advocacy in Asia.” The bill cited a smaller $370,000 grant for LGBTQ+ human rights in Armenia, a $1.1 million grant to the Armenian LGBTQ+ organization Pink Human Rights Defender, and an approximately $300,000 grant for the U.S. State Department’s LGBTI advisor Ryan Kaminski.

“American taxpayer dollars are being wasted to fund radical leftist propaganda in foreign countries,” Gaetz said at the time. “USAID does not serve a meaningful purpose. It is used as a slush fund for international wokeism. Therefore, serious lawmakers in Congress should support its complete abolition.”

Greene was a cosponsor of that bill.

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