Priorities and Putting our Children First
By Congressman Tom Reed and Gary Mervis of Camp Good Days and Special Times
As parents, so many of us have personal stories of how diseases and various disorders have impacted our children and the lives of our families. We are constantly looking for ways to promote awareness and research to the best of our ability. When our children are suffering, we have a duty to help them and Congress has a role to play.
We’re excited to be joining forces again in support of another important initiative for children’s health: the Kids First Research Act of 2013. The bill invests $130 million in scientific research for pediatric diseases and disorders like autism, juvenile diabetes, and children’s cancer.
With limited federal resources, each and every taxpayer dollar must be scrutinized. That’s why this bill carefully prioritizes those dollars where they are needed: investing in our children. We’ve taken the initiative in placing children’s health ahead of politics by eliminating taxpayer financing of presidential campaigns and party conventions and expanding pediatric research through the National Institutes of Health.
The legislation eliminates the Presidential Election Campaign Fund (PECF) not used by presidential candidates and pools the remaining funds with taxpayer dollars previously financing Republican and Democratic party conventions. With this legislation we are looking at expanding research for pediatric diseases by as much as $130 million.
Kids First is a great example of bipartisanship in the House, with more than 100 co-sponsors adding their name and committing to put our children above political parties and conventions. We also have a host of organizations that have voiced their strong support for the Kids First Research Act, organizations like Autism Speaks, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, National Fragile X Foundation, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and the National Down Syndrome Society, and Camp Good Days and Special Times.
Earlier this spring, we partnered to introduce the Clinical Trials Cancer Mission 2020 Act of 2013, to help make research data more readily available. By strengthening reporting requirements and encouraging data sharing to find a cure, our common goal is to help give patients a fair chance at having a good quality of life and making cancer a chronic illness.
Treating cancer alone costs the United States over $130 billion each year. If we can prevent taxpayer dollars going to fund duplicative research, we can fund more studies and increase the chances of finding cures. We will continue to engage in this conversation of how to prioritize federal dollars because our children are too important and hardworking taxpayers deserve accountability from the federal government on how their tax dollars are being spent.
In our opinion, aside from helping those in need, the best part about this legislation is that it is something we can all gather around to support: Republicans, Democrats, and everyone in between. We want to put medical research at the top of the Congressional priority list and also in the forefront of everyone’s minds. It’s the right thing to do for our children, the savings to taxpayers are significant, and we can start to bring health care costs down.
Our children are our greatest resource. Research could mean medical breakthroughs which could result in cures. At the end of the day, children’s health is more important than a campaign or a political convention. At the end of the day, their health is all that matters. Congress can help with that goal, and it should.
Congressman Tom Reed represents the 23rd District of New York in the House of Representatives and is a co-sponsor of the Kids First Research Act. Gary Mervis is Chairman and Founder of Camp Good Days and Special Times. For more information on both the Kids First Research Act and the Clinical Trials Cancer Mission 2020 Act, visit Reed’s website at www.Reed.house.gov.