Expect to see leaner conventions from now on…

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.

But the GOP wants unlimited donations allowed to make up for it

Supporters of campaign finance restrictions decried the GOP’s new push to lift the ban on unlimited donations to bankroll their presidential conventions.

They say current rules prevent potential conflicts of interest by prohibiting parties from soliciting major checks from outsiders for the high-profile events.

But Republican Party chief Reince Priebus said Tuesday a change is needed to help host cities — which might be Dallas in 2016. Last week, Congress eliminated an $18 million subsidy for each party for nonsecurity operating costs.

Priebus wants parties to be able to raise “soft money” — made up of donations free of certain federal limits — to make up for the loss.