U.S. Reps. Gregg Harper (R--Miss.) and Tom Cole (R--Okla.) introduced a bill today that prioritizes pediatric research for children with special needs.
The "Kids First Research Act" eliminates taxpayer financing of presidential campaigns and political party national conventions. The bill reallocates these federal resources to pediatric research within the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
"Recent scientific research breakthroughs linking Fragile X Syndrome and autism have given hope to individuals and their families," Harper said. "In order for clinical trials -- and other advancements -- to meet their full potential, adequate federal resources must be directed to pediatric research."
"I am pleased to introduce the "Kids First Research Act' with my colleagues," added Cole. "Each year, millions of hard-earned taxpayer dollars are spent just to fund presidential campaign efforts--a poor reflection and incorrect representation of our nation's priorities. Through the bill introduced today, these dollars will instead be redirected to fund pediatric disease research. The need for prevention and cure of diseases like autism leaves a true legacy for generations to come. This is the sort of nation we want to build for our children and grandchildren."
The proposal was announced by Republican lawmakers in conjunction with World Autism Day. Recent studies report that 1 in 50 school children are impacted by autism.
Innovative clinical trials for medical therapies aiming to reverse the core symptoms of intellectual disabilities, such as autism and Fragile X-associated disorders, are leading scientists to the genetic roots of these conditions.
This is why the authors believe that Congress must continue to devote resources to childhood research.
"Completing these trials could affect millions of our friends and neighbors," Harper added. "New discoveries will lead to improved diagnostics. A more timely diagnosis means more effective treatments."
Cole is a longtime advocate for ending the Presidential Election Campaign Fund (PECF). Harper's 23-year-old son, Livingston, lives with Fragile X Syndrome, the most commonly inherited form of intellectual disabilities. He serves as a cochairman of the Congressional Fragile X Caucus.