by Steven Ertelt
May 17, 2005
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Backers of a bill in Congress that would authorize using taxpayer funds for unproven embryonic stem cell research claim they have enough votes to pass the measure in the House of Representatives.
On Monday, three Republicans who back the destructive research held a "hearing" on the bill in Chicago to promote it and tout the number of Representatives who support the measure. They say the House could vote on it before Memorial Day and that it will pass.
Rep. Joe Schwarz of Michigan and Illinois representatives Mark Kirk and Judy Biggert, who also support abortion, told the Chicago Sun Times they expect to have 230 vote for HR 810, which would overturn limits President Bush has placed on funding the research. They nee 218 to pass the bill.
In August 2001, Bush put in place a policy that taxpayer funds would not be used for any new embryonic stem cell research. Instead, Bush has authorized nearly $200 million in funding for adult stem cells, which have already produced dozens of treatments and cures. The bill would overturn the policy.
Despite the prediction, Rep. Joe Pitts, a leading pro-life Republican from Pennsylvania, says he expects a much closer vote.
"We’re operating under the assumption we can get enough votes to beat it," said spokesman Derek Karchner.
Even if the bill is approved by the House, it will not likely overturn the president’s policy prohibiting the public funding.
The Senate must approved the measure with 60 votes, as pro-life lawmakers will likely filibuster it. Meanwhile, President Bush has not changed his mind on the policy and will likely veto the bill if it reaches his desk. Neither the House nor the Senate would have the votes to override the veto.
With that in mind, Rep. Pitts said he thinks Congress should do more to promote adult stem cell research.
"Congress should instead focus on supporting adult stem cell research, which has been proven to work successfully, is not morally controversial, and holds true promise for disease victims," Pitts said. "We should not kill to harvest an experiment."