A bill honoring 10-year-old Leesburg resident Gabriella Miller to provide $126 million for pediatric research grants passed in the U.S. House of Representatives today.
“Less talking, more doing. We need action,” the vibrant little girl told a crowd during an event in October, and some of the most powerful men and women in Congress repeated that quote on the House floor Wednesday.
Gabriella was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor in November 2012, and in the 11 months that followed she became an outspoken advocate for more awareness and funding for pediatric diseases. She lost her battle with the disease Oct. 26.
The Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act would require the director of the National Institutes of Health to allocate $126 million—$12.6 million each year for 10 years—of appropriated funds for pediatric research. The money would be re-designated from the Presidential Election Campaign Fund for national party conventions to made into research grants for pediatric autism, cancer and other diseases.The Hill reports:
The bill, with more than 150 co-sponsors, passed on a 295-103 vote.
Most Democrats — 102 of them — rejected the bill as a weak attempt to restore a small amount of the spending cuts the GOP has already foisted upon the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
"It is a disingenuous and empty attempt by the Republicans to divert attention from the fact that they have voted to cut research time and time again," said Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.).
The bill would take $126 million in money that is now meant to fund presidential nominating conventions. It would spread that money out over 10 years.
But Democrats who voted against it argued that Republicans are responsible for $1.5 billion in cuts to the NIH, and that the bill does not represent a real attempt to restore funding.
"That's why I think the Republicans are not making a sincere effort to support NIH research," Pallone said. "This is a joke."Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) has been pushing hard for the bill: