Rep. Comstock proposes shifting money from presidential election fund to cancer research
The bill is similar to the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act in that it shifts money from more politics-laden federal funds to childhood cancer research. President Barack Obama (D) signed that measure into law in 2014.
The Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act, named after a Leesburg child who died from brain cancer in 2013, re-directed public funds for political party conventions to cancer research.
Kids First 2.0 “is merely a continuation of this effort of redirecting unused funds to a lifesaving and urgent cause,” Comstock said in a statement Thursday. “NIH is already engaged in a multitude of promising research efforts and this funding will advance this important vision.”
Leesburg resident Ellyn Miller, Gabriella's mother and the founder and president of the Smashing Walnuts Foundation, said she plans to advocate for the new proposal.
“In spite of its tragic nature, childhood cancer remains a devastatingly underfunded area of disease research, comprising less than 4 percent of the National Cancer Institute’s annual budget,” Miller said in a prepared statement. “We commend Congresswoman Comstock for exploring creative solutions to address this shortfall and we look forward to working with her to ensure the legislation’s passage.”
The Gabriella Miller act, which called for nearly $130 million in cancer research funding over 10 years, has been funded in its first three years for a total of $37.8 million. Ellyn Miller plans to visit Capitol Hill next week to lobby lawmakers for appropriations in fiscal 2018.
All of Loudoun County's federal legislators – Comstock and Sens. Tim Kaine (D) and Mark Warner (D) – were vocal supporters of the Gabriella Miller act.
According to Comstock's office, Kids First 2.0 would transfer approximately $320 million in “idle” funds in the Presidential Election Campaign Fund to the Pediatric Research Initiative Fund. Like the initial Kids First act, the money would still have to be allocated during appropriations.
“Most major presidential candidates have declined to participate in public financing since at least 2008,” a statement from Comstock's office noted. “No major candidate accepted public funds in 2012 or 2016. In 2008, then-candidate Barack Obama became the first person since the public financing program's inception elected president without accepting any public funds.”
Twenty-eight children a day are diagnosed with cancer, according to NIH, and 1,190 are expected to die from the disease this year.
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