by Steven Ertelt
July 11, 2006
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — President Bush has declined to meet with an activist lawmaker who is one of the lead sponsors of a bill that would overturn his limits on using tax money for embryonic stem cell research. The Senate will soon vote on Rep. Diana DeGette’s bill and she hoped to meet with the president to convince him not to veto it.
The White House sent a letter to DeGette, a Colorado Democrat, on Tuesday saying the president would not meet with her.
"Although the president would appreciate meeting with you, we are unable to accommodate your request. Thank you for understanding," the letter said, according to a Denver Post report.
DeGette told the newspaper she found the letter insulting in part because prominent White House advisor Karl Rove was in Denver on Monday and told media there that the president would certainly veto the bill.
"It’s downright insulting that (Bush) sent his head political advisor to my hometown with a veto threat," DeGette told the Denver newspaper. "This issue is too important to become part of Karl Rove’s cynical electoral strategy."
DeGette said she would still welcome an opportunity to lobby the president but warned Bush that her bill, which the Senate will consider next week, will become law eventually despite his veto threat.
“It will become law. It’s just a question of whether it will be sooner than later,” she said.
"Either we will have to do it when President Bush is out of office, and be behind the rest of the world. Or do it now, and be the leader in the world," she said.
President Bush has said he will veto the measure because he doesn’t want to spend taxpayer funds on new research that involves the destruction of days-old unborn children.
If he vetoes the bill, the Senate may have enough votes to override it, but the House is far from the two-third majority needed to override.
Pro-life groups oppose the bill because they don’t want public funds spent on research that involves the destruction of human life.
They also point out the fact that embryonic stem cell research has yet to cure any patients and is far from doing so. At the same time, the use of adult stem cells has already developed dozens of treatments and cures for various diseases and conditions.
The bill in question would overturn President Bush’s August 2001 executive order allowing stem cell research funding but preventing it for new embryonic stem cell research. Annually, the Bush administration has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on stem cell research.