President Bush Reaffirms Veto Threat on Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 26, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

President Bush Reaffirms Veto Threat on Embryonic Stem Cell Research Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 26, 2005

Washington, DC ( — President Bush on Wednesday reconfirmed he will veto legislation approved by the House of Representatives that overturns his policies against using taxpayer funds to back any new embryonic stem cell research. The bill is headed to the Senate.

"I would be vetoing the bill if it were to pass the United States Senate," Bush said to journalists at the White House.

"There must be a balance between science and ethics and I have made my decision,” said Bush. "The use of federal dollars to destroy life is something I simply do not support.”

"The issue that involves the federal government is whether or not to use taxpayers’ money that would end up destroying that life," the president added.

Bush, appearing at a news conference with the president of Indonesia, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, restated his opposition.

"I believe that the use of federal monies that end up destroying life is not – is not positive, it’s not good," Mr. Bush said. "And so, therefore, I’m against the extension of the research, of using more federal dollars on new embryonic stem cell lines."

Bush has never vetoed a bill during his administration and he will have his first opportunity if the Senate can find 60 votes to stop a likely filibuster against the measure.

However, a lead sponsor of the bill in the Senate, Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter, says the Senate should be able to find the 67 votes necessary to override the president’s veto.

"I think if it really comes down to a showdown, we will have enough in the United States Senate to override a veto," Specter said.

He pointed to a letter last year signed by 58 members of the Senate urging President Bush to reconsider his stem cell research policy. He said he had as many as 20 more senators on board supporting embryonic stem cell research.

Pro-life Sen. Sam Brownback, a Kansas Republican and possible presidential contender, has confirmed he will filibuster the bill.

On Tuesday, Specter and Tom Harkin, an Iowa Democrat, wrote a letter to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist urging him to quickly bring up HR 810.

"No decisions have been made when this bill would come to the floor," Frist spokesman Nick Smith indicated.

The House voted 238-194 on Tuesday to approve HR 810, sponsored by Delaware Republican Michael Castle. That’s well short of the 290 votes needed to override a presidential veto.