House Approves 'Kids First' Bill Adding Research Funding

WASHINGTON, DC (December 11, 2013) -- The U.S. House of Representatives today approved the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act on a bipartisan 295-103 vote. The bill was first announced by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) on April 2, World Autism Awareness Day, as a way to increase federal funding for pediatric research, including autism.

Sponsored by Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS), the bill would redirect public funding now dedicated for the national Presidential party conventions to pediatric research, including for autism. The bill originally would have eliminated public funding for all elements of the Presidential campaigns, but it was modified to affect just funding for the conventions.

“Autism Speaks commends Majority Leader Cantor for his leadership in making pediatric research a priority,” said Autism Speaks President Liz Feld. “The need to make gains with autism research has never been more urgent.”

Cantor championed the Kids First bill as a keynote speaker at last month's Autism Speaks to Washington national policy summit.

The bill moves next to the Senate. The bill was recently renamed after a 10-year-old girl who died in October following an 11-month battle with an inoperable brain tumor. It is estimated the bill would add $126 million for pediatric research grants over 10 years.