By unanimous consent Tuesday morning, the Senate passed the bipartisan Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act, which re-routs money for party conventions and presidential campaigns to pay for research on pediatric cancer, autism, and other diseases.
The passage of the bill came at the request of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, after the legislation had been stalled in the Senate for more than two months. The legislation, which was made a priority last year by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, was named for a 10-year-old girl from Virginia, who died last year of an inoperable brain tumour.
“Frankly, it’s hard to imagine that there would be any objection to moving these funds to something we can all agree is a high priority — pediatric research,” McConnell said Tuesday on the Senate floor.
The bill terminates funding from the Presidential Election Campaign Fund for the party conventions, which will save approximately $US126 million over the next 10 years. The $126 million is then authorised to be spent on pediatric medical research activities at the National Institutes of Health.
The bill received almost 300 votes in the House last December. More than 100 Democrats voted against it, citing it as a cynical attempt by Republicans to restore too-little funding to the NIH after $US1.5 billion in recent cuts through sequestration.
“This is a small amount of money but it will be extremely helpful to the NIH,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said of the bill Tuesday. “I wish my Republican colleagues would join us in increasing funding.”
For more on Miller’s story, watch CNN’s report from December:
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