Congress managed to do its job last week, passing legislation to boost research funding for pediatric disorders and presenting a bill to President Obama that the White House says he'll sign. The nation should be dancing in the streets (Congress actually accomplished something and for sick children, no less!) but the national party committees are less-than-pleased about the cost.
The Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act, which was championed by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, provides $126 million over 10 years to fund research into pediatric autism, cancer, and other diseases. But it's paid for by taking away taxpayer funding for national political conventions.
That presents a big problem for the national party committees. A quarter of the spending on the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., and 28 percent of the funds for the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., came from taxpayer money. Historically, the other 75 percent is covered by loans and donations, largely from corporate sponsors and a few wealthy donors.
The conventions are typically astronomically expensive affairs. The Republican National Committee, and the 2012 Tampa Bay Host Committee spent about $74 million combined on their convention, while Democrats put about $66 million down to officially nominate President Obama for the second time. The RNC and the Democratic National Committee each received $18.2 million from Uncle Sam — i.e. the tax-paying public — to help offset those costs.