by Steven Ertelt
August 1, 2005
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A leading senator backing a bill to spend taxpayer funds on embryonic stem cell research admitted over the weekend that it doesn’t yet have a veto-proof majority despite support from Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, the Republican leader.
Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter, who is a co-sponsor of the bill, says he has enough votes to pass the measure through the Senate but not enough to override an expected veto from President Bush.
"My analysis is that we have 62 votes at the present time, and we’ve got about 15 more people who are thinking it over," Specter said on "Face the Nation" on CBS.
Specter said he hopes Frist’s flip-flop to support overturning Bush’s limits of using taxpayer funds will give the bill a "big boost" to get enough votes to overturn the veto.
"I believe that by the time the vote comes up, we’ll have 67," Specter predicted.
Even though the Senate may have enough votes to override, the House doesn’t — something pro-life Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback noted.
"You don’t have the votes in the House of Representatives to overcome a presidential veto," Brownback told Specter.
Specter appeared to understand the situation.
"I think our problem … is going to be to get it in the House," Specter added.
Meanwhile, pro-life Sen. Rick Santorum, Pennsylvania’s other senator, appealed with Americans to learn more about embryonic stem cell research and how it destroys human life.
"And this is an innocent human life," Santorum said on "This Week" on ABC. "You’re destroying this life for the purpose of research which has questionable value."
Americans appear to support Santorum’s position against using tax dollars to finance the research, which has yet to cure any patients.
A May 2005 poll by International Communications Research, found 52 percent oppose federal funding of embryonic stem cell research while just 36 percent support it.
In an August 2004 poll conducted by Wilson Research Strategies, 53 percent of respondents said that they opposed “using tax dollars to pay for the kind of stem cell research that requires the killing of human embryos,” while only 38 percent supported it.
White House spokesman Scott McClellan said Friday that Frist’s position change won’t alter President Bush’s position against tax funds for the research.
"I think the President has made his position very clear. Nothing has changed in terms of his position," McClellan explained.