Senate Won’t Vote on Embryonic Stem Cell Research Funding Until April

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 15, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senate Won’t Vote on Embryonic Stem Cell Research Funding Until April Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 15
, 2007

Washington, DC ( — The U.S. Senate won’t take up a contentious bill that would force taxpayers to fund embryonic stem cell research funding until after Easter. However, Senate leaders from both parties are negotiating the debate details for it and an alternative bill may be included for a vote as well.

Because the Senate is busy working on the budget and an emergency war spending bill, other items like the stem cell legislation are being moved to the back of the list.

It’s not expected that the Senate will be able to take up its funding bill until after senators return from the Easter recess, which begins the first week of April. That means a vote wouldn’t occur until after April 10.

But, once the Senate debate begins, lawmakers may likely vote on two bills — the funding measure and an alternative bill sponsored by Republican Sens. Norm Coleman of Minnesota and Johnny Isakson of Georgia.

That legislation is still under construction, but Coleman told Roll Call magazine that their bill “doesn’t cross the moral line” by funding embryonic stem cell research and would, instead, allow funding of adult stem cells and other alternatives.

Coleman said that with the president committing to veto the embryonic funding bill again, Congress should look to other measures like his.

Sen. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, endorsed the bill saying, “I hope it’ll provide common ground for those like me who want to see scientific research go forward, but are concerned about sacrificing human life."

In an email to, Douglas Johnson, the legislative director of National Right to Life, said the proposal hasn’t been finalized yet for his group analyze.

"However, a draft version that has recently circulated contained nothing to which NRLC would object," he said.

His group and other pro-life organizations remain opposed to the embryonic funding bill, which would mandate taxpayer funding for the destruction of human embryos leftover in fertility clinics in scientific research.

"The legislation would mandate federal funding of the type of stem cell research that requires the killing of human embryos. NRLC strongly opposes the Reid-Harkin legislation," he said.

The House has already voted on its version of the bill, which it approved on a 253-174 vote in January. The Senate is expected to approve its measure, S. 5, and then it would get a House vote before going to the president.

President Bush has promised to veto the final bill again because he doesn’t want taxpayer funds to pay for research that involves the destruction of human life.

The House vote was well short of the two-thirds needed to override his veto and the Senate will be one or two votes either direction of the two-third needed to override.