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Kaine Applauds Committee Passage of Bipartisan Bill to Honor Leesburg Child’s Legacy, Support Childhood Cancer Research

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, who serves on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, applauded the HELP Committee’s passage of his bipartisan Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act 2.0, legislation to continue funding the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Gabriella Miller Kids First Pediatric Research Program (Kids First) through Fiscal Year 2033, with an increase in the annual authorization from $12.6 million to $25 million over the 10 years. The bill is named in honor of Gabriella Miller, a Leesburg, Virginia resident who died from a rare form of brain cancer at the age of 10. Miller was an activist and worked to raise support for research into childhood diseases like cancer until her death in October of 2013.

“The Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act 2.0 is a powerful example of how Gabriella Miller’s legacy as an activist and fighter continues,” said Kaine. “I’m glad we’re one step closer to getting this bipartisan bill passed by the full Senate, so we can provide essential support for pediatric cancer and disease research.”

In 2014, Kaine championed the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act, which established the Ten-Year Pediatric Research Initiative at the NIH and authorized $12.6 million per fiscal year through Fiscal Year 2023 for pediatric disease research. Since President Barack Obama signed the original bill in 2014, over $100 million has been directed to pediatric cancer research at the NIH through the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research program. While cancer is the leading cause of death by disease among children past infancy, childhood cancer and other rare pediatric diseases remain poorly understood. According to the National Cancer Institute, an estimated 9,910 children under the age of 14 will be diagnosed with cancer, and about 1,040 will die of the disease in the United States in 2023. 

Senator Kaine would like to thank the legislation’s cosponsors, U.S. Senators Jerry Moran (R-KS), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Tina Smith (D-MN), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Steve Daines (R-MT), Peter Welch (D-VT), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Ted Budd (R-NC), Mark Warner (D-VA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Bob Casey (D-PA), Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM), and Roger Marshall (R-KS), as well as his lead health care staffer Samantha Koehler for their support.

In addition to passing the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act 2.0, Kaine helped the Committee pass health care workforce legislation that would reauthorize programs critical to improving access to quality health care and help address health care workforce shortages. Kaine also voted in Committee to pass the Prematurity Research Expansion and Education for Mothers who deliver Infants Early (PREEMIE) Reauthorization Act of 2023, legislation to reauthorize critical federal research, education, and intervention activities to reduce preterm birth and infant mortality, and the Preventing Maternal Deaths Reauthorization Act of 2023, legislation to address disparities in maternal health outcomes and find solutions to enhance health care quality and outcomes for mothers.