Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Actby Representative John Conyers Jr.
Posted on 2013-12-11
CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in opposition to the
``Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act.'' H.R. 2019 purports to end
the public's contribution to political party conventions and redirect
the savings into research on childhood diseases at the National
Institutes of Health. In fact, the bill does no such thing.
While I strongly support efforts to increase funding for pediatric research and other research at NIH, I do not believe H.R. 2019 does anything to advance this goal. This bill claims to make available to NIH, the $12.6 million per year raised as public support for the expenses of party conventions. In actuality, that bill would not do anything to restore the funding cuts that Republicans have strongly supported over the last few years, because it does not actually provide any additional funds to NIH. It only directs the money to be made available in appropriations.
These funds will still have to go through the regular appropriations process, fully subject to the Budget Control Act caps--as reduced by sequestration--and will have to comply with the spending allocations of the Appropriations Committee. It is this exact process, caps, and especially sequestration that cut $1.55 billion from NIH last year alone, dramatically reduced NIH funding for cancer and other research capabilities.
This bill only authorizes $12.6 million per year, which is four- tenths of one percent of the roughly $3.6 billion that NIH spent on pediatric research last year. Adding one more unfunded authorization will not interrupt the destructive downward trend this country is experiencing in research funding. It is not even an honest attempt to do this. NIH is already authorized to spend well beyond the $12.6 million a year this legislation allows.
Republicans aim to show that pediatric research is a priority, but you only have to look at H.R. 1, the House Republican spending proposal from the 112th Congress, to see what their true priorities are. That proposal, which the vast majority of Republicans supported, slashed total funding for the Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee by 22 percent, which would have cost NIH $6.7 billion. The reality is that few Republicans are genuinely interested in providing adequate funding for the NIH.
Mr. Speaker, if my Republican colleagues truly want to support pediatric research, they should restore the $4.2 billion that has been cut from NIH's funding since they took the majority, and they could support my bill, H.R. 900, which fully repeals sequestration.