Democrats Will Bring Back Embryonic Stem Cell Research Funding Bill

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 10, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Democrats Will Bring Back Embryonic Stem Cell Research Funding Bill Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 10
, 2006

Washington, DC ( — Now that they have control of Congress, Democrats plan to make a bill that would force taxpayers to pay for embryonic stem cell research one of the first pieces of legislation they put forward next year. However, they may not have enough votes, even with Tuesday night’s election results, to overturn a veto from the president.

Likely future House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says a measure similar to the one President Bush vetoed earlier this year will be voted on during the first 100 business hours of the next congressional session that begins in January.

Rep. Diana DeGette, a leading sponsor of the measure on the House said, says Democrats will resurrect their campaign to lobby President Bush to sign the bill. She thinks the election results may change his mind about it.

"The White House has to be thinking very, very carefully about what their next move is," DeGette told the Denver Post newspaper.

Bush vetoed the previous bill in July and the House voted 235-193 in favor of overriding the veto, but the vote was 51 short of the two-thirds necessary to override it. The Senate voted for the bill 63-37, which was four votes short of being able to override a veto.

A Gallup poll just after the veto found 50 percent of Americans either supported it or were not upset by it.

Pelosi admitted that the elections probably did not provide enough votes to override a second veto and she told the Washington Post Democrats hope to "build public support for a signature."

Robert Klein, who heads the California agency charged with spending billions on embryonic stem cell research and human cloning there, says he thinks there are enough votes to overturn a veto in the Senate, but not the House.

"Based on their known positions, we have a veto-proof Senate. The challenge will be the House, where we need about 35 votes on the Republican side," he said.

Polls show Americans aren’t clamoring for their tax dollars to pay for the destruction of human life for embryonic stem cell research that has yet to help any patients and may never do so.

A new poll conducted by Newsweek in August showed a decline in the support for taxpayer funding of embryonic stem cell research.

According to the poll, 48 percent of Americans favor funding embryonic stem cell research with taxpayer funds while 40 percent say they don’t.

That eight percent margin is down from an October 2005 Newsweek poll showing a 50-36 percentage split — or a 14 percent margin. That means support for funding embryonic stem cell research with tax dollars is down 6 percent from late last year.

The Newsweek poll also found just 17 percent of Americans would base their vote on Congressional candidates this November on the issue of stem cell research. Some 55 percent say the issue is important but wouldn’t affect their vote and 22 percent say it would definitely not be a factor in how they vote.

Other polls show lower support for using taxpayer dollars to pay for embryonic stem cell research.

Conducted by International Communications Research in mid-May, a poll found 48% of Americans oppose federal funding of stem cell research that requires destroying human embryos. Just 39% support such funding and another 12 percent had no position.

The ICR survey found 57% favored funding only the research avenues that do not harm the donor. Just 24% favored funding all stem cell research, including the type that involves destroying human embryos.

Adult stem cells have already produced 70 cures or treatments for various conditions including various cancers such as breast cancer, lymphomas, leukemia, arthritis, heart damage, Parkinsons, Sickle Cell Anemia and other disorders.