A bipartisan House of Representatives, including Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-8), last week passed the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act. The bill prioritizes taxpayer funding for scientific research of pediatric diseases and disorders such as cancer and autism by eliminating taxpayer funding for the Republican and Democratic national conventions, according to a release from the congressman's office.
“Ask any parent – our kids always come first. So it only makes sense that Washington put the children of our nation ahead of partisan politics when it comes to utilizing taxpayer dollars,” said Fitzpatrick following the bill’s passage. “This bill simply puts the critical need of increasing research funding for pediatric diseases ahead of election politics.”
“As a member of the Autism Caucus, the chance to prioritize federal dollars for critical research for Autism and those families living with it was a great opportunity,” continued Fitzpatrick. “Ensuring the best for our children – especially those with pediatric disorders – is vital for the continued success of our nation. I’m heartened that this Congress could come together and working on their behalf.”
The bill has the support of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), Autism Speaks, the Children’s Hospital Association, the Coalition of Pediatric Medical Research, the National Down Syndrome Society and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, among others, according to the release.
"The additional funding that will now go to scientific research for autism spectrum disorder and other pediatric diseases is greatly needed," said Paul Rokuskie, president of the Bucks County Autism Support Coalition. "Anything we can do to help today's youth immediately and to also allow them to have a better quality of life into their adulthood is significant. Recent statistics from the Pennsylvania Bureau of Autism Services show that there are over 35,000 adult Pennsylvanians living with autism in the state. This is nearly double what the original estimates were a few years ago. This bill is another positive step in a larger discussion on how to help individuals on the autism spectrum and their families."
Fitzpatrick is also a member of the Rare Diseases Caucus as well as the Childhood Cancer Caucus and has been a leading advocate of medical research and innovation during his time in Congress. He supports robust funding for the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to continue their innovative research and creation of new treatments.