Updated 1:00 p.m. ET, 1/8/2014
Washington (CNN) - Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Mississippi, urged his Senate colleagues to pass the bipartisan Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act in the GOP's weekly address Saturday.
The legislation, which passed the House in December, would take $126 million in federal money set aside over 10 years for political conventions and apply it to pediatric research. Harper co-sponsored the legislation with Democrat Rep. Peter Welch of Vermont.
Senior Democrats in the House opposed the legislation, slamming it as a publicity stunt meant to paper over billions in spending cuts for federal cancer research, but it still garnered enough Democratic support to pass.
Less than 4% of the federal government's $5 billion for cancer research goes to study childhood cancers.
"Instead of funding these conventions once every four years, we’ll make it a daily priority to explore the full potential of clinical trials and advancements. Not only for childhood cancer, but for all pediatric conditions - even the most rare genetic diseases," said Harper.
The bill is named for Gabriella Miller, who, along with her parents, fought for the more funding for pediatric cancer research. She died of brain cancer in October at the age of 10.
In his address, Harper paid tribute to her, calling her "never at a loss for words or wisdom" and "the leader of this movement."
The three-term congressman stressed how personal the bill was for him as well. His oldest son, Livingston, was diagnosed at 4 with Fragile X syndrome, a genetic disorder that causes intellectual disabilities and behavioral challenges.
"Today, he’s making his way through college in a program for students with intellectual disabilities. Many families, of course, are not as fortunate," he said.
"No, we can’t fix everything,” he added. “But that doesn’t mean we should accept things as they are. After all, don’t we teach our kids never to settle for less?"
At the moment, the Senate has no plans to take up the legislation.
–CNN’s Dana Bash and Conor Finnegan contributed to this report.