Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Actby Representative Chris Van Hollen
Posted on 2013-12-11
in the house of representatives
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor Gabriella Miller,
a brave little girl who was taken from the world much too soon. I know
Gabriella's parents are here in the House gallery and I want to express
to them how sorry I am for their loss. Gabriella was a real fighter,
not only for herself but for the thousands of other children across the
country who are battling cancer. I'm pleased to join my colleague,
Michael McCaul, in co-chairing the Congressional Childhood Cancer
Caucus in the House. Over the years, I've had the privilege of meeting
hundreds of young people like Gabriella and families like the Millers.
I've heard their heartbreak and frustration, and share their commitment
to finding a cure for this devastating disease. The National Institutes
of Health play a critical role in this effort--conducting basic
research toward finding cures, supporting clinical trials, and
developing treatments for childhood cancer and other pediatric
illnesses. I firmly believe that as a nation we should be investing
more in pediatric research but the bill on the floor won't do that.
[[Page E1903]] Today's bill purports to increase pediatric research by $13 million per year by terminating public financing for political conventions. Assuming last year's 5 percent sequester at NIH was spread evenly across their programs, then pediatric research would have been cut by roughly $182 million in 2013. The bill's $13 million would return less than 10 percent of the funding to pediatric research that was lost to sequester last year. On top of that, the bill doesn't actually appropriate any funding, but instead authorizes appropriations, which does not guarantee that these funds will be available.
Mr. Speaker, today's bill isn't a sincere effort to increase funding for pediatric research and it shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. Since the Republican majority took office in 2011, they've racked up a dismal record on NIH, having cut its budget by total of $4.2 billion or 13 percent when adjusted for inflation. If Republicans are really serious about pediatric research, and in fact want to put kids first, then they should work with us to replace the sequester with a balanced budget package.