As we mark World Autism [Awareness] 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. I believe it is important for the Federal government to do the same. Earlier this year, I announced that in the House of Representatives we would work to prioritize federal spending of scientific research into debilitating diseases and disorders.
Today, I am pleased to announce that in the coming weeks my colleagues Representatives Gregg Harper and Tom Cole will introduce in Congress the “Kids First Research Act,” that will put additional taxpayer funding into scientific research of pediatric diseases and disorders. 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.
The Kids First Research Act will eliminate taxpayer financing of presidential campaigns and the Republican and Democratic party conventions and instead use these funds to expand pediatric research at the National Institutes of Health through the NIH Common Fund (the Common Fund supports transformative research that involves the coordination of multiple NIH research institutes and centers).
Just two weeks ago, researchers reported that 1 in 50 school aged children are affected by autism spectrum disorder. 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.Paul Bedard writes at The Washington Examiner:
Cole, a recent chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, said picking on funds for presidential campaigns and national presidential conventions was easy. "Transforming welfare for politicians into efforts to eradicate this terrible disease is a much better reflection of our national prerogatives," said Cole. "This legislation is an example of how much can be accomplished by ending wasteful spending and redirecting those funds toward urgent national priorities like the need to combat autism."The funding maneuver is politically shrewd -- but the phrase "eradicate this terrible disease" is not likely to win applause from self-advocates.