WASHINGTON, DC (April 2, 2013) -- House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) marked World Autism Awareness Day by announcing a new bill to prioritize research funding for pediatric disorders, such as autism, will be introduced shortly in Congress. Cantor said the Kids First Research Act, to be sponsored by Reps. Gregg Harper (R-MS) and Tom Cole (R-OK), would be funded by eliminating public financing for presidential campaigns.
Cantor posted his announcement shortly after President Obama unveiled the launch of a $100 million brain research inititiative for disorders such as autism.
"As we mark World Autism Day and the beginning of Autism Awareness Month, thousands of Americans will be thinking about what they can do to promote awareness and research into autism spectrum disorder," Cantor said in a blog posted on his website. "I believe it is important for the Federal government to do the same.
"It’s not enough to just conduct research for new treatments—we need to be pushing for research that will help uncover the cure for autism spectrum disorder and many other diseases impacting children," he said.
Cantor said the research would be funded by eliminating public financing of presidential campaigns as well as the Republican and Democratic national conventions. The resources would be reallocated to the National Institutes of Health.
"Just two weeks ago, researchers reported that 1 in 50 school aged children are affected by autism spectrum disorder," Cantor said. "That’s too many. And that’s why I can think of no better use for the millions of taxpayer dollars currently spent on presidential campaigns and political party conventions than funding the medical research that holds the key to improving the quality of life for so many Americans."
Autism Speaks President Liz Feld said, "Autism Speaks welcomes efforts in Congress to prioritize research funding for autism."