Watchdog: Follow the Money

Senate votes to divert political convention subsidies to pediatric research

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Politics,Health,Watchdog,Michal Conger,Campaign Finance,Waste and Fraud,Tom Coburn,Follow the Money

Politicians will no longer party on the taxpayer dime after the Senate voted Tuesday to divert taxpayer subsidies of the Democratic and Republican national conventions to instead fund to fund a new pediatric research fund at the National Institutes of Health.

The Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act ends funding for the conventions from the Presidential Election Campaign Fund and redirects $126 million over 10 years to a new fund at the NIH.

The bill passed by unanimous voice vote on Tuesday morning, and now goes to President Obama for his signature. It passed the House 295-103 in December.

Conventions cost taxpayers more than $36 million in 2012, according to the bill's sponsor, Mississippi Republican Rep. Gregg Harper.

Convention costs include everything from catering and flowers to makeup consultants and gift bags, according to Sen. Tom Coburn's 2011 Wastebook, which details wasteful government spending.

The convention subsidy was the first of 100 examples of wasteful federal Coburn highlighted in that year's Wastebook.

The bill was named after Gabriella Miller, a 10-year-old Virginia girl who died of brain cancer in October 2013. Gabriella advocated for cancer research before she died.

“Sending this bill to the president is a fitting tribute to Gabriella’s legacy,” Harper said in a statement. “I urge the president to sign the bill without hesitation.”

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