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Obama to sign Welch-authored pediatric research bill into law today

April 3, 2014
Press Release

In an Oval Office ceremony at 4 p.m. this afternoon, President Obama will sign into law The Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act (H.R. 2019) authored by Rep. Peter Welch and Rep. Greg Harper (R-MS).  The new law will boost funding for pediatric research at the National Institutes of Health.

The legislation is named in memory of Gabriella Miller, a 10-year-old children’s health research advocate who died of brain cancer in October.  Gabriella’s parents, Ellyn and Mark Miller of Loudon County, VA will be present at the ceremony.  Also in attendance will be House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) who worked closely with Welch to pass the legislation.

“This year alone, the parents of over 10,000 children across this country will receive the heart wrenching news that their precious child has been diagnosed with cancer.  Today, we make an important investment in life-saving pediatric disease research which we hope will lead to long overdue cures,” said Welch.  “And we also demonstrate that bipartisan progress is possible even in this divided Congress.”

This new law creates the 10-Year Pediatric Research Initiative Fund at NIH which will invest $12.6 million annually for 10 years in scientific research on pediatric diseases and disorders.  The Fund is paid for by eliminating taxpayer financing for political party conventions.

Earlier this week, President Obama signed into law Welch’s bipartisan legislation that will assist hospitals serving disproportionately large numbers of seniors in rural communities, including four Vermont hospitals.   

And last month, the House of Representatives passed Welch’s energy efficiency bill by a vote of 375-36.  That bill is expected to be considered in the near future by the full Senate, where Welch is working closely with Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH).