Office of Representative Eric Cantor

Done deal. Representatives Gregg Harper (R-MS), John Boehner (R-OH), and Eric Cantor (R-VA) sign a new pediatric cancer research funding bill in order to send it to the White House for signing.

NIH to Get Money for Pediatric Research

Jeff tries to explain how government works to readers of Science.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is slated to get $126 million over 10 years for pediatrics research after the U.S. Senate yesterday approved legislation that was once seen by many Democrats as a cynical ploy.

The bill, the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act, shifts money from public financing of conventions into a special pot within the Common Fund at NIH that can be used only for pediatric research. The $3 checkoff appears on U.S. tax forms and was created as a way to offset the influence of special interests in presidential elections. But since 2008, candidates have declined to accept the money because it would impose a ceiling on their overall spending. 

A story in Roll Call describes the political roller coaster ride that the legislation has taken since Representative Eric Cantor (R-VA), the House of Representatives majority leader, went to bat for the parents of Gabriella Miller, a 10-year-old Virginia girl who died last year from a brain tumor. The legislation easily passed the House in December despite complaints from leading Democrats that it diverted attention from NIH’s larger budget woes. Senators Mark Warner (D-VA) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) took up the cause of their state colleague and eventually persuaded Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to allow the bill to go to the floor, where it passed on a voice vote after only brief debate.

Posted in Funding, Health, Policy