Protesters stormed House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s Congressional office on Tuesday, demanding that he and other House Republicans re-up funding for an AIDs relief program.
Protesters with Housing Works pressed their way into McCarthy’s office and refused to move until Capitol Hill Police arrived and arrested them. The group was demanding a 5-year reauthorization of the PEPFAR global AIDs relief program, which they say has saved ’25 million lives.’
Images of the incident show protesters sitting on the floor of McCarthy’s office and linking arms as bemused staffers remain at their posts.
‘We’re proud to use nonviolent civil disobedience, among other tactics, to demand that our government take action to end AIDS,’ the group wrote on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.
McCarthy’s office did not respond to multiple requests for comment on the incident, but Capitol Police confirmed to Fox News Digital that they arrested seven individuals.
‘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,’ Capitol Police said in a statement.
Congress has until September 30 to re-up the law guaranteeing funding for the PEPFAR program, but agreement on the issue appears unlikely. The law had previously been renewed on a five-year rolling basis.
The program will still continue if Congress does not renew the law, but its funding will become subject to the annual budget battle.
McCarthy is already facing an impending battle over the annual budget as House lawmakers return to the Capitol for the first time in six weeks on Tuesday. Leaders in the House and Senate have both acknowledged that a deal must be struck on a stopgap funding bill, called a continuing resolution, to give both sides more time to reach an agreement.
If no deal is reached by Sept. 30, lawmakers risk sending the government into a partial shutdown.
Fox News Elizabeth Elkind contributed to this report.