Congress, President Bush to Battle on Embryonic Stem Cell Research Again

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 31, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Congress, President Bush to Battle on Embryonic Stem Cell Research Again Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 31
, 2007

Washington, DC ( — When members of Congress return next week from their Memorial Day recess, Congress and President Bush will once again do battle over whether taxpayers should be forced to fund embryonic stem cell research that involves the destruction of human life.

Both the House and Senate have passed measures overturning the presidents limits on funding the controversial science but the bills contain minor differences.

The expectation most political observers have is that the House will adopt the Senate version of the bill, S. 5, and send that version to President Bush — who has already promised to veto it.

Following the veto, the bill would then head to the Senate for the first attempt at overriding his veto.

The Senate approved the bill with 63 votes, short of the two-thirds needed to override an expected veto. However, three senators who supported the bill were not present for the vote, including South Dakota Democrat Tim Johnson who was hospitalized at the time.

Had they been there, the vote would have been 66-34, still short of the two-thirds to override. Johnson may not return to the Senate to vote in a potential override situation, giving pro-life advocates more hope that they can prevent the bill from becoming law.

The House approved its own measure earlier this year on a 253-174 margin, 37 votes short of the 290 necessary to override a Presidential veto. The House won’t consider a veto override attempt unless the Senate is successful.

In interviews with the Washington Post, several lawmakers who support the embryonic funding bill, including Rep. Diana DeGette, a Colorado Democrat who has been leading the effort for the bill in the House. She did not dispute the analysis that Congress is short of having enough votes to override.

Pro-life advocates are confident that Congress will not have enough votes to put the bill on the books, but they’re working overtime to tell lawmakers to vote against any override attempt and calling on pro-life advocates to do the same.

Richard Doerflinger, with the pro-life office at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, told that Americans have never "been required to assist in such direct exploitation of vulnerable human life in the past."

"Because the President has promised to veto this bill, and opposition to it in Congress is sufficient to uphold his veto in both House and Senate, we expect that this terrible burden will not be placed on the American people now," he said.

ACTION: Contact your members of Congress and urge them to oppose the bill forcing people to pay for embryonic stem cell research and to vote against any attempt to override a presidential veto. You can call 202-224-3121 and connect with any legislator.