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The Hill: Cantor bill would ax public campaign funding, use money for research

April 2, 2013
News Stories

The Hill - Sam Baker

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said Tuesday the GOP will introduce a bill to boost federal medical research — and pay for it by eliminating public funds for political conventions.

Cantor outlined the "Kids First Research Act" on World Autism Day. He said the bill, which Reps. Gregg Harper (R-Miss.) and Tom Cole (R-Okla.) will introduce "in the coming weeks," would redirect federal funds toward research at the National Institutes of Health.

To pay for the extra NIH funding, the bill would eliminate the option of public financing for campaigns as well as federal funding for the Republican and Democratic conventions every four years.

"Instead of spending millions of taxpayer dollars for presidential campaigns, these funds will be better spent helping find cures and treatments for pediatric diseases and disorders like autism," Cantor said in a statement outlining the bill.

Harper introduced a separate bill in 2011 to end public financing for presidential campaigns and party conventions, using the roughly $200 million in savings for deficit reduction. It passed the House on a party-line vote.

Cantor's latest measure could put House Democrats in a difficult position if they still oppose ending public financing for campaigns and could now be attacked in campaign ads for voting against funding for autism research.

"Transforming welfare for politicians into efforts to eradicate this terrible disease is a much better reflection of our national prerogatives," Cole said. "This legislation is an example of how much can be accomplished by ending wasteful spending and redirecting those funds toward urgent national priorities like the need to combat autism."

The $200 million Cantor's proposal would restore is about 8 percent of the $1.6 billion cut from the NIH under sequestration.

Online: The Hill