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Calls to Action

Kids First Bill Gets Bipartisan Boost in Senate

January 28, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC (January 28, 2014) -- A bipartisan initiative to increase federal funding for pediatric research picked up momentum yesterday with the announcement that the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act will be introduced in the Senate with Democratic and Republican sponsors.

The measure was voted out of the House of Representatives in December with bipartisan support and cosponsors. Virginia's Democratic Senators, Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, joined with Utah Republican Orrin Hatch yesterday to announce they would soon introduce the Senate companion bill. The announcement was made in a joint press release with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA).

First announced by Cantor on World Autism Awareness Day last year, the bill would generate $126 million over 10 years for pediatric research into various conditions, including autism, by eliminating public funding for the major party presidential conventions. The funding would be allocated to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The bill (HR.2019) was renamed in honor of Gabriella Miller [left], a 10-year-old Virginia girl who died last October following an 11-month battle with an inoperable brain tumor. Over 100 advocacy groups, including Autism Speaks, have endorsed the bill.

“The Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act is an important way to honor the memory of this remarkable young Virginian while recognizing the importance of pediatric disease research," said Kaine. "I’m honored to support this effort and look forward to doing all I can to move it forward in the Senate.”

Hatch said that prioritizing research funding at the NIH to address childhood conditions "just makes sense...Once we’ve introduced this legislation in the Senate, I pledge to do everything in my power to make sure this bill becomes law.”

Warner said, “I am pleased to add my support to this worthwhile effort to boost NIH research for pediatric diseases. By all accounts, Gabriella Miller was a profile in courage, and I can think of no better way to honor her legacy.”

Cantor said, "Putting a priority on federal funding for pediatric medical research at the NIH will help overcome childhood cancer, autism and many other" conditions affecting children.