House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) has published a video featuring a 10-year-old child who last year passed away from brain cancer to attack Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and advance a pediatric research bill he’s co-sponsoring.
In the clip, Gabriella Miller quotes Reid’s objections from October to a Republican-backed measure, proposed during the 17-day government shutdown, that would have partially funded the National Institutes of Health but kept the rest of the government shutdown. Cantor posted the clip to promote The “Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act,” a measure that would eliminate $12.5 million in funding from party nominating conventions and authorize the money for pediatric research grants. Watch the clip:
Democrats are whipping against the measure, arguing that it is a political ploy that would not appropriate any additional funds to the NIH. Matt Dennis, a spokesman for Appropriations Democrats, told Congressional Quarterly that the bill wouldn’t increase funding “by one dime.” “Rather than increasing the amount that can be appropriated to NIH, it merely creates an unnecessary and unfunded authorization — a solution completely irrelevant to the problem,” Dennis said. “It is a cynical attempt by the majority to obscure their shameful record on medical research funding.”
Indeed, Republicans have voted for budgets that would undercut funding for health care research and cheered the automatic budget reductions that cut 5 percent or $1.55 billion from the NIH’s fiscal year (FY) 2013 budget. Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) FY 2012 budget would have also reduced N.I.H. funding by 5 percent or “more than $1 billion” and their latest proposal would result in additional reductions.
Republicans have also repeatedly criticized Obama for using children to advance a policy agenda. Rep. John Carter (R-TX) said it was offensive for Obama to invite “so many people whose families had been touched by gun violence” to his 2013 State of the Union address, noting “It’s unfortunate that people feel like they have to throw dead children out in peoples’ faces, as if disagreeing on an issue of guns makes you in favor of killing dead children.” In April, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) accused President Obama of exploiting Newtown survivors to advance gun safety and in February, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) lashed out at Obama, accusing him of using “our military men and women as a prop in yet another campaign rally to support his tax hikes.”