By Molly K. Hooper - 01/27/14 02:58 PM EST
Virginia’s Democratic senators have endorsed House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-Va.) bill to fund children's medical research.
Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) on Monday endorsed Cantor’s “Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act,” which would eliminate taxpayer financing of presidential campaigns and party conventions, and use those funds to expand pediatric research at the National Institutes of Health.
The House passed the bill in an overwhelming 295-103 vote in mid-December, but it had yet to pick up Democratic support in the upper-chamber. GOP Senator Orrin Hatch is co-sponsoring the Senate 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. I’m honored to support this effort and look forward to doing all I can to move it forward in the Senate,” Kaine, the former head of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) said in a statement.
Warner echoed those sentiments in pledging to move the bill to the president's desk.
Cantor praised his fellow Virginians for lending their support to a measure that the No.2 ranked House Republican endorsed after meeting with the family of Gabriella Miller, who died from an inoperable brain tumor.
“Gabriella Miller was an inspiring young girl from Virginia who was only 9 years old when diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor the size of a walnut,” he said.
“Gabriella’s fight lives on with the bipartisan Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act. Putting a priority on federal funding for pediatric medical research at the NIH will help overcome childhood cancer, autism and many other diseases impacting our children,” he continued. “With the bipartisan support of Senators Kaine, Warner, and Hatch, I hope the Senate acts swiftly to do the same and sends Gabriella’s bill to the President’s desk to be signed into law so we can help more children.”