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Peter W.
Democrat VT 0

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  • Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act

    by Representative Peter Welch

    Posted on 2013-12-11

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    WELCH. Mr. Speaker, I support this legislation, but I want to go through the controversy.

    First of all, the argument about campaign finance reform, this is about taking money away from political conventions. The majority on both sides of the aisle have supported that.

    Number two, there is an argument that this does not restore NIH funding. That is absolutely true, and we should restore full funding for the National Institutes of Health. Passing this bill doesn't stop us from doing that. It may even put us a step forward.

    Third, there is an argument that the money will not get to the intended target because of the way it is designed. But if there is any expression of good faith, it is that the appropriators have made a very clear indication that they [[Page H7658]] are willing to do everything they possibly can in order to make this happen.

    Fourth, it is limited in its scope and in its funds. That is true. But the fact is it does do something. It takes a step forward.

    We are having an argument here about whether this is bipartisan or not. We are having an argument about bipartisan or not. We are having an argument about process. But I think if we are candid, we have to acknowledge that, as an institution, both sides have failed when it comes to an overall comprehensive budget, including for the NIH.

    On August 12, 2011, this Congress voted 269-161 to implement the sequester, and in the I-told-you-so brand of argument, I voted against that. I voted against it because, in my view, the consequences of that sequester were predictable and foreseeable. These across-the-board cuts from the NIH to the Pentagon made no sense, but that is the box this institution, this House of Representatives, has put itself in.

    What we have with this bill, in my view, is an opportunity to lay down the battle axes for just a moment and take a step forward. No one is here--least of all, me, where I am being used, to some extent, as a bipartisan face--to suggest that this does more than it does. But what it does do is something good, and it can begin a process, which is my hope, where we restore full funding to the National Institutes of Health.

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