Understanding Appropriations – The Carolyn Price Walker Conquer Childhood Cancer Act

The Carolyn Price Walker Conquer Childhood Cancer Act was signed into law by George W. Bush on July 29, 2008 (Public Law No: 110-285). It passed the House of Representatives (HR 1553) on June 12, 2008 with a vote of 416 to 0 (17 not voting). It passed the Senate on July 16, 2008 by unanimous consent (100 votes).

It contains the following text:

12 is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section
13 $30,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2008 through 2012.
14 Funds appropriated under this section shall remain avail15
able until expended.’’.

There is no money appropriated for the Act in 2009. The problem is the law authorizes appropriations, but does not specify that the monies must be appropriated. For those who thought the law funded childhood cancer, it comes as a big surprise that the law really does nothing of the sort. It is still up to the whims of the members of the appropriation committee to actually go through the motions of appropriating the monies authorized.

Since the Carolyn Price Walker Conquer Childhood Cancer Act has passed, Congress has spent:

And we are currently debating a $849 billion health care bill, with true costs that are unknown. If it passes, this will be $2.9 trillion spent in new bills. To put this in perspective, the money authorized to be appropriated to the Carolyn Walker Price Conquer Childhood Cancer Act is 0.001% (one 1,00th of a percent) of what has been spent on the above bills, all new spending not envisioned when the Act was signed in July of last year.

Recap: The bill was voted 416 to 0 (17 not voting) in the House, passed by unanimous consent (100 votes) in the Senate, and yet has not been funded this year. Apparently nobody wanted to go on record as NOT supporting research money for childhood cancer, yet many are blocking actually funding it. Sounds like a broken promise to me.

But since this is an appropriation, let’s compare to appropriations. According to this video 9and other sites), here are some appropriations for this year (I have only included a few appropriations):

  • Missouri River Fish Mitigation $54.7 million (Harkin)
  • Columbia River Fish Mitigation – $83.3 million (Murray)
  • Fish Passage Improvement at the Red Bluff Diversion Dam – $50,400,000 (Boxer) – NOTE: $14,792,000 was to be appropriated, so $35.6 million extra was spent

Message? Fish more important that children?

What about HHS earmarks:

  • $33.315 million for education Native Hawaiins (Inouye)
  • $100 million extra for WIC (Rosa L DeLauro)
  • $100 million extra for the global fund for HIV/AIDS (Rosa L DeLauro)

NOTE: If you want more information, check out the pork book.

Here is a list of members of the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services for the Appropriations Committee. I have linked to some of their statements, which include appropriations of billions above recommended spending (although not for childhood cancer):


Chair: David R. Obey (WI)
Nita M. Lowey (NY)
Rosa L. DeLauro (CT)
Jesse L. Jackson, Jr. (IL)
Patrick J. Kennedy (RI)
Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA)
Barbara Lee (CA)
Michael Honda (CA)
Betty McCollum (MN)
Tim Ryan (OH)
James P. Moran (VA)


Ranking Member:
Todd Tiahrt (KS)

Dennis R. Rehberg (MT)
Rodney Alexander (LA)
Jo Bonner (AL)
Tom Cole (OK)
Jerry Lewis (CA), Ex Officio

My Feelings

We have to remember that childhood cancer is the leading disease killer of children in this country. In the world, it is second only to AIDS in number of deaths, but this is largely due to Africa. When Africa is removed from the stats, cancer outpaces AIDS by a wide margin. When we examine younger children, cancer is the disease responsible for the most number of deaths.

The case for government funding can be made in this way:

  • Cancer is the number one disease killer of children in the United States
  • Drug companies are not funding childhood cancer research, as it is not profitable (not enough bodies)
  • A portion of the NCI funding for childhood cancer ($190 million) goes to pediatric AIDS and AIDS related cancers (Kaposi Sarcoma and leiomyosarcoma)

I am not sure that funding of research is a government’s job, at least in general. On the other hand, when monies are promised to be allocated by the government, they should live up to their promises. They are not doing that. Contact your Senator and Representatives today and ask them to just live up to their promises.

Others in this series

·         Working with Relative Numbers (AIDS vaccine, Cancer Drugs)

·         The Caroline Pryce Walker Conquer Childhood Cancer Shill Game

·         Childhood Cancer Statistics (13,712 estimated diagnosed in 2008)


Peace and Grace,

Twitter: @gbworld
Miranda’s Site: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/mirandabeamer

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