GOP congressman urges Senate to pass children’s cancer bill
January 4th, 2014
11:07 AM ET
7 months ago

GOP congressman urges Senate to pass children’s cancer bill

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.


Filed under: Congress • GOP weekly address
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Thomas

    Let me get this right , Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Mississippi would take $126 million in federal money set aside over 10 years for political conventions and apply it to pediatric cancer research.

    However he wants to overturn the Affordable Healthcare Act ?

    January 4, 2014 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  2. rs

    Agreed, Thomas. Until the GOP stops treating the ACA as their personal white whale (with the $billions spent to overturn it between their rich, rich, sponsors, and the shutdown fiasco, and the taxpayer dollars flushed on symbolic votes), this is little more than a sad publicity stunt meant to make people think Republicans actually care.

    January 4, 2014 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  3. John Geheran

    While he article refers to "a less than 4%" of the budget for cancer research is allocated for children it doesn't say what % of children account for cancer victims. It also doesn't question why existing funding can't be re-allocated to correct any imbalance. As it nearly always is,the congressional solution is to throw more money at whatever issue will garner votes.

    January 4, 2014 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  4. Ron L

    So Congressmen Gregg Harper form Mississippi is CONCERNED about research funds of $126 million dollars over 10 years for pediatric cancer research. While his party is consumed with attempting to stop the ACA which would help 100's of thousands of Mississippians get REGULAR healthcare service. Doesn't this appear to be a little lopsided?? Mississippi rates as one of the poorest perfoming states in the area of Heath care and education of its citizens. This is a clear example of why. Their Representatives will attempt to distract everyone with a speech on the sensitive issue of helping children with cancer, while the let the remainder of the populace struggle. Pretty sad if you step back and look at it from a non-political perspective.

    January 4, 2014 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  5. just asking

    Thomas
    Let me get this right , Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Mississippi would take $126 million in federal money set aside over 10 years for political conventions and apply it to pediatric cancer research.
    However he wants to overturn the Affordable Healthcare Act ?
    --

    what is the problem with that? cancer research and a disastrous government takeover of our healthcare system are not related. what do you have against pediatric cancer research? or are lefties now not satisfied with just killing the kids in the womb?

    January 4, 2014 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  6. Gurgyl

    You can not even have any deductions taxes in NORTH CAROLINA state. Get rid off Pat McRory. Pathetic idiot. GOP is doomed. You have to have one kid below 17 years to claim. Pathetic. Penalty is 50 percent.

    January 4, 2014 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  7. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    You mean a Republican who actually cares about people? Something smells fishy!

    January 4, 2014 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  8. don in albuquerque

    No way, not in a zillion years.

    January 4, 2014 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  9. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    Hey, the GOP does NOTHING for ANYBODY except the oil companies and the Koch clowns.

    January 4, 2014 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  10. Silence DoGood

    The GOP cut way way more than this in federal cancer funding. This might be personal for him but the GOP is using this make it look like they actually have grown a heart. It is a sick misdirection from their former cuts.

    January 4, 2014 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  11. Rick McDaniel

    The Dems are trying to pull a fast one, with that. It is again.........entirely a political move, and not a charitable one.

    January 4, 2014 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  12. Dizzyd

    If only the rest of the GOP would follow his example, we might actually believe their 'compassionate Christian' rhetoric. You don't have to be liberal or conservative to want to help your fellow man. And isn't that the real issue rather than who's right?

    January 4, 2014 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  13. Liz the First

    Careful, Rep. Harper, growing a heart could make you susceptible to becoming a Democrat. growing a brain will guarantee it.

    January 4, 2014 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  14. Fish

    Finally, government doing what government does best. No matter the naysayers when government Truly works it truly works!!! Now if we can get back to the business of living!!!

    January 4, 2014 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  15. rs

    just asking
    Thomas
    Let me get this right , Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Mississippi would take $126 million in federal money set aside over 10 years for political conventions and apply it to pediatric cancer research.
    However he wants to overturn the Affordable Healthcare Act ?

    what is the problem with that? cancer research and a disastrous government takeover of our healthcare system are not related. what do you have against pediatric cancer research? or are lefties now not satisfied with just killing the kids in the womb?
    -----–
    Why would the GOP care JA? They just ended food aid to poor American children. Or, is it just the kicks the Right gets by harming Americans? Afraid you won't have enough to kick around?

    January 4, 2014 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  16. Smitty

    If the House and Senate cannot get together to help children, then we as Americans need to get rid of all of them.

    January 4, 2014 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  17. rs

    just asking
    Thomas
    Let me get this right , Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Mississippi would take $126 million in federal money set aside over 10 years for political conventions and apply it to pediatric cancer research.
    However he wants to overturn the Affordable Healthcare Act ?

    what is the problem with that? cancer research and a disastrous government takeover of our healthcare system are not related. what do you have against pediatric cancer research? or are lefties now not satisfied with just killing the kids in the womb?
    _______________________
    C'mon JS- Please layout (with facts) how an a government insurance exchange between private companies and individuals equates a "government takeover". Meanwhile, if we used the funds wasted by the GOP in their shutdowns, hissy-fits, bogus votes, and corporate "incentives", We could fully fund all sorts of medical research… but of course your type apparently no longer believe in Science anymore.

    Maybe we could just buy everyone health care insurance for a few years instead.

    January 4, 2014 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  18. GOP = Greed Over People

    Perhaps, the senator could better spend his time trying to get Medicaid expanded for ALL the poor children in Mississippi and maybe raise his state's standing to say 49th in at least one aspect. Perhaps, cancer would be discovered sooner in those poor children IF they had access to health care?

    But, then of course, the founder of the Cancer Treatment Centers, Mr. Stephenson, and a major GOP contributor, would not get his "payback", UNLESS, the millions are specified for children with cancer. Gotta keep those contributors happy, even if it does mean using sick children as political pawns!

    Silly, me.

    January 4, 2014 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  19. GOP = Greed Over People

    Color me cynical, but isn't it odd how the GOP's concern for America's security and the citizens that are poor or sick, always dovetails so nicely with helping "big business"?

    Iraq "WMD"(yeah, I now know, it means We Meant Democracy) – no bid contracts for Haliburton and KBR not to mention, the fact that entire pallets of taxpayer cash just disappeared? Yes, PALLETS.

    $126 million for children with cancer – Stephenson's Cancer Treatment Centers?

    And still they wonder, why we think they only care about "we the people", when the "people" are corporations!

    January 4, 2014 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  20. J.V.Hodgson

    Only one word gets close to labeling these guys accurately HYPOCRIT.
    I WOULD at the same time remind all Republicans of the oath doctors internationally take it's called the HYPOCRATIC OATH, YOU DONT KNOW IT google it!!
    IT's totally without religious or Political bias.
    Regards,
    Hodgson.

    January 5, 2014 02:43 am at 2:43 am |
  21. IA

    Good idea!

    January 5, 2014 02:55 am at 2:55 am |
  22. purrkittipurr

    if i understand correctly, some $ that would help with conventions would be set aside and used for pediatric cancer research stretched out over a span of time. but first must be voted on & passed, which doesn't look hopeful.hhmm.maybe those that oppose should spend a day in the pediatric cancer ward explaining to children & their familes just why they think the $ that should be allocated for cancwer research was going to benefit convention goers.as it should!! right??RIGHT?!

    January 5, 2014 04:13 am at 4:13 am |
  23. king

    what does these rich guys knows about the poor and suffering. all they know is to drive a wedge between these people and encourage them to vote against their best interest. these repubs are only sucking the money out of our economy to enrich their corporate masters to invest in china. this is all, i know cnn wont post this, but when on earth is someone going to force fox rich right wing news to hire a dem host on their 24 hour smear machine. am i the only one in america noticing that this so called news to the general public doesnt have not one democrat host not even for an half an hour. msnbc at least have republican joe scarbarow on morning joe for 3 hours every week day morning. it is a dam shame how the american people would accept such a one sided news program and still support it.

    January 5, 2014 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  24. Name fed up

    Ms gets 3 dollars for every 1 it contributes has the highest rate of obesity and 25% of its peoples are uninsured and they wasted tax payers money to pass a bill to sell any size sodas Can you say jim crow out of touch!

    January 5, 2014 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  25. liberal hogwash

    Gregg Harper – Is he one of those dreadful Republicans who want to let kids and seniors die in the streets?????? That's according to the liberals!
    How WRONG can those dribbling misfits be?

    January 5, 2014 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |