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Cole Supports Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act

December 12, 2013

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) offered the following remarks on the House Floor in support of H.R. 2019, the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act of 2013. This legislation, sponsored by Congressman Gregg Harper (MS-03), passed the House yesterday by a vote of 295-103.

I want to begin by praising my friends, Gregg Harper and Peter Welch, who come to this floor with a very worthy purpose, and that is to redirect government funding for something that’s not particularly important toward something that is very important: medical research for children.

The question when you have a worthy goal is always “How do you pay for it? Where will you actually get the resources?” For many years, I brought to this floor legislation that would eliminate public funding for political party conventions and presidential campaigns. I could go into the debate…the president has never used any public funding, didn’t feel the need for it in either of his two campaigns, neither did Mr. Romney. Now on the political conventions, both political parties this year actually did take the money. I can tell you as a former chief of staff for the Republican National Committee, who put on a convention in 2000, they don’t need it! They absolutely do not need it. They could raise all the money they need from private sources, just as their nominees raised money from private sources.

That bill has actually passed this house on multiple occasions with a bipartisan vote. I was prepared to do that again, and I got a call from Leader Cantor. He said “Tom, I know you have been working on this problem for a long time, and I know you are concerned about it. What if we redirected that money toward something that is a better purpose, a better use of public dollars?” Then he mentioned Gregg’s bill, and I couldn’t agree with him more.  

So for those of you that are looking for something sinister or trying to link this to something that it’s not connected to, like the sequester, it’s simply a modest step in the right direction. And it takes money that we know is wasted and puts it to good use. For those of you that say it can’t pass the other body, the other body in the last Congress, on the amendment, voted 95-5 to take away public funding of political conventions. We still have a disagreement on presidential campaigns, but funding political conventions really is more important than directing this money to a more worthy purpose? We’re not even trying to take it out of the federal budget.

I just think that that kind of logic defies imagination. This is a good faith effort to do something that ought to bring us together instead of pull us apart. It’s a modest step. I’d be the first to admit that, but let’s take the modest step in the right direction, take public dollars that we’re now wasting on political conventions, give them to researchers and let them do their work. That’s just simply a better use of the public purse in a time of limited means.

So I urge support for my friends’ bill, H.R. 2019, Mr. Harper and Mr. Welch. I want to thank Leader Cantor; this was his idea, bringing two good ideas together. I think it’s a good one. I hope this House embraces it in a bipartisan fashion. I want to thank my friend the Chairman of Energy and Commerce for his effort to bring this forward and advance it.


Contact: Sarah Corley 202.225.6165