Embryonic Stem Cell Research Advocates Threaten Senate Amendment

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 24, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
July 24, 2005

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Because it appears members of the Senate will not arrive at an agreement on which of several bills dealing with stem cell research to bring up, one senator says he’s going to find an alternative way to make taxpayers pay for embryonic stem cell research.

Senator Arlen Specter says he will attach his bill to strike down President Bush’s limits of funding the unproven research to other legislation.

"I don’t like to put it on an appropriations bill, but we waited long enough," a frustrated Specter told reporters Friday. The strategy, he said, is a "fallback position which I have avoided up until now."

Specter indicated he would attach the embryonic stem cell research funding bill, which cleared the House without a veto-proof vote, to the Labor-Health and Human Services 2006 appropriations bill. The Senate is scheduled to debate that measure after its August recess.

“I’ll bring [the stem cell research bill] us as the first amendment out of the box,” Specter said.

A spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said the negotiations for a vote deal
weren’t dead but pro-life and pro-embryonic research senators don’t want each other’s
bills to be brought up.

"We keep working for a discrete and clear debate and vote on the House bill and other ideas in this sphere," Amy Call told the Washington Post.

If Specter is successful, pro-life lawmakers may seek an amendment of their own on a bill that would ban all forms of human cloning.

President Bush has threatened to veto Specter’s bill and would presumably veto the appropriations measure if the Specter language was added to it. On previous occasions, when the Senate sought to overturn his Mexico City Policy prohibiting taxpayer funding of groups that promote or perform abortions, Bush has said he would veto the bill senators used then.