April 6, 2017

Washington, DC - Representative Barbara Comstock (R-VA) released the following statement today after she introduced the ‘Kids First Research Act 2.0’ that would redirect approximately $320 million of federal funds to the Pediatric Research Initiative Fund at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) with the intent to be used for childhood cancer research and other pediatric diseases:

“‘Your child has cancer,’ Those devastating words will be heard by the parents and loved ones of an estimated 10,270 children in the United States this year (aged newborn - 14) according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). That is 28 children a day. And 1,190 children are expected to die from the disease this year despite medical advances. Cancer still remains the leading cause of death from disease among children.

“That is why today we are introducing, ‘The Kids First Research Act 2.0’, a bill which will provide additional funding to ramp up the needed research for childhood cancer and other disorders that strike our children. This bill is simple. It will transfer approximately $320 million in funds that are sitting idle in the Presidential Election Campaign Fund, and redirect it to the Pediatric Research Initiative Fund at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to be used for childhood cancer research and other pediatric diseases. NIH is already engaged in a multitude of promising research efforts and this funding will advance this important vision.

“Three years ago, Congress passed, and the President signed, The Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act (H.R. 2019; 113th Congress), which provided funding for research into pediatric cancer through the NIH. This funding was provided by diverting money from the Presidential Election Campaign Fund, which was earmarked for party conventions, to instead go to life saving research for diseases that strike our children. This legislation is merely a continuation of this effort of redirecting unused funds to a lifesaving and urgent cause.”

According to the Congressional Research Service, “Most major presidential candidates have declined to participate in public financing since at least 2008. 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.” As of December 31, 2016, the Presidential Election Campaign Fund balance was approximately $320 million. This legislation will terminate this anachronistic campaign fund upon enactment, and the $320 million would then be transferred to the pediatric research fund at NIH. To read the full text of the ‘Kids First Research Act 2.0’ go here.