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Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to the bill before us today because 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. So instead, they will stand before the American public with words that they have no action to back up.

The National Institutes of Health serve a vital mission of supporting biomedical research so that we may better understand and better treat diseases that burden American families; and I stand firmly in favor of supporting NIH research funding, especially as it relates to pediatric research.

Let me be very clear for the record here today. H.R. 2019 does not achieve this purpose. Had this bill, which had been introduced back in May, gone through regular order and come to the Committee on Energy and Commerce for hearings and markup, we would have had the opportunity to discuss and debate the merits of the legislation.

This bill claims to support research on childhood diseases by authorizing--and I note not appropriating, but only authorizing--$12.6 million for NIH pediatric research grants through savings from ending the public contribution to the cost of political party nominating conventions.

I emphasize that the bill only authorizes funding because I would like to point out that the appropriations needed to actually make these funds available to NIH would still be subject to discretionary spending caps of the Budget Control Act and sequestration cuts.

Now, the sequester alone has cut $1.5 billion out of NIH'S funding in fiscal year 2013. Even worse, through the Ryan budget, the Republicans adopted spending allocations for fiscal year 2014 that would make additional cuts to NIH, which could result in $6.7 billion in cuts in total.

For pediatric research, the proportional cut would amount to $800 million, which is 60 times more than the increase that this bill claims to provide. That's why I think the Republicans are not making a sincere effort to support NIH research. This is a joke.

The best thing, Mr. Speaker, we can do to support NIH and research on pediatric diseases is to pass a balanced and constructive budget package and to provide the Appropriations Committee with a reasonable and realistic amount of funding to work with.

Until then, I would urge my colleagues to oppose this bill that is nothing but a guise. It is a ruse. It does nothing to ensure that we are increasing pediatric cancer research dollars.

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