by Steven Ertelt
March 21, 2006
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Members of the Hollywood elite are joining forces with a Colorado congresswoman to start a new political action committee to back candidates who support embryonic stem cell research. Together they held a bigwig fundraising event at a premier Hollywood home Thursday.
Rep. Diana DeGette, a Democrat who is a leading sponsor of Congressional legislation to overturn President Bush’s limits on taxpayer funding of embryonic stem cell research, is heading up the new group.
Joining her in starting the Stem Cell Action Fund are several of Hollywood’s producers and directors.
Jerry Zucker, who became famous with the movie Airplane, is co-hosting the $1,000-a-person fundraiser at his house.
Doug Wick and Lucy Fisher, producers of last year’s Memoirs of a Geisha and Gladiator, which Wick produced, will also attend.
"Government policy — not scientific limitation — is now holding stem cell research back," DeGette said.
However, the use of adult stem cells has already produced dozens of cures and treatments for various diseases and conditions. Embryonic stem cell research has never come close to being ready for clinical trials on humans and may never result in any cures.
Last week, the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), which is the top lobbying group for scientists and research firms that back human cloning and embryonic stem cell research, gave their 2005-2006 "Legislator of the Year" award to DeGette.
BIO President and CEO Jim Greenwood, a former Pennsylvania congressman, said the group chose her because of her leading the charge to overturn Bush’s limits.
"Representative DeGette’s leadership was critical to the success of the bill when it passed the House last year by a wide bipartisan margin," he said.
The Senate has yet to vote on it and pro-life lawmakers will likely filibuster the proposal if it does. Bush has promised to veto any bill overturning his policy.
While the president limited using tax dollars to fund embryonic stem cells, he authorized more than $190 million on adult stem cell research.
BIO represents more than 1,100 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and 31 other nations.