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National Briefing / Washington, D.c.

House backs funding for needle exchanges

July 25, 2009|Times Wire Reports

The House voted to lift a ban on using taxpayer dollars for needle exchange programs for intravenous drug users intended to prevent the spread of HIV and other diseases.

The vote to lift a long-standing ban on federal aid for such programs -- in place since 1988 -- came after a brief but passionate debate on an amendment by Rep. Mark Souder (R-Ind.) to keep the ban in place. His amendment failed by a 211-218 vote.

The vote came as the House approved, 264 to 153, a massive spending bill for health, labor and education programs. The Senate has yet to vote on a companion measure.

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