GOP Rep.: Redirect convention funds to pediatric research

Republicans used their weekly address to urge the Democratic-led Senate to take up a bipartisan House-passed bill that redirects federal tax dollars from political party conventions to pediatric research.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) tapped Rep. Gregg Harper (R-Miss.) to deliver the message in support of legislation he co-sponsored, the Gabriela Miller Kids First Research Act, which passed the House on a 295-103 vote in December.

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The bill, part of Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s “Making Life Work” agenda, would shift $126 million from the party nominating conventions to the National Institutes of Health.

“Instead of funding these conventions once every four years, we’ll make it a daily priority to explore the full potential of clinical trials and advancements,” Harper said in the video address. “Not only for childhood cancer, but for all pediatric conditions – even the most rare genetic diseases.”

The legislation is named after a young girl who died of brain cancer at age 10. Harper also mentioned his own son, Livingston, who is now in college after developing Fragile X Syndrome, a disorder that is often misdiagnosed as autism.

“Today, he’s making his way through college in a program for students with intellectual disabilities,” Harper said. “Many families, of course, are not as fortunate. They’re out there waiting for hope and answers that often never come.”

He urged viewers to lobby their senators in support of the bill and noted that Senate leaders had previously voted to end the taxpayer subsidy for party conventions. “In this season of sweeping resolutions, here’s a chance to show how one small change can make a big difference,” Harper said.