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Public Statements

Caroline Pryce Walker Conquer Childhood Cancer Act of 2007

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


CAROLINE PRYCE WALKER CONQUER CHILDHOOD CANCER ACT OF 2007 -- (Senate - July 16, 2008)

Mr. WYDEN. Mr. President, on behalf of Senator Jack Reed and myself, I ask unanimous consent the Senate proceed to the immediate consideration of H.R. 1553, the Caroline Pryce Walker Conquered Childhood Cancer Act, which was received from the House, the bill be read three times and passed, the motion to reconsider be laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?

Mr. COBURN. Reserving the right to object, and I ask the indulgence of the Senator from Oregon for just a moment?

Caroline Pryce Walker was known to me. I attended her funeral. Her mother is a dear friend of mine in the House. So there are personal connections with my position on this bill.

This body, as well as the House, less than a year ago, reformed NIH. We did some very important things. One of the things we did was take out of the hands of politicians the direction that gives us the best opportunity to cure cancer. We put it back in the hands of peer-reviewed scientific study, which we know will accomplish much more than when we put our hands on it.

There are problems with this bill. One is that it has a registry at the CDC. There are already two registries now at NEH. There is no way to fix that, so the American taxpayer is going to get to pay for two.

The second thing is, as we direct $30 million to this outside of what they are already doing, that means $30 million isn't going to be available for childhood or juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, isn't going to be available for juvenile diabetes--where there might be greater hopes of saving more children and making greater impact.

I have great reservations when we start making the decisions on where the scientific inquiry ought to go and it is not connected at all with real science or peer-reviewed science. However, there are changes in this bill and Deborah Pryce has been a great contributor to the body in the House. I have held her in my arms as she has cried over this lost young child and, with reservation, I will not object to this bill. But I must say we are going down the wrong path. We are penny-wise and pound-foolish because we want to do what is emotionally pleasing but scientifically stupid. We are going in this direction.

I am going to allow this. I will not object. I will not object on this bill so this bill will be a great last accomplishment for Deborah Pryce. It will be a fitting tribute to her daughter and all the other children. But I will tell you, we will get less, not more, by doing this in terms of the research and the benefit for the children who have childhood cancer in this country.

I yield the floor.

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