Senator Will Attach Embryonic Stem Cell Research Funding to Bill

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 17, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senator Will Attach Embryonic Stem Cell Research Funding to Bill Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 17
, 2007

Washington, DC ( — A leading backer of forcing taxpayers to fund embryonic stem cell research plans to attach language requiring that to a federal spending bill the Senate will consider. If the language makes it to President Bush, the effort will likely force him to make good on his promise to veto any measure overturning his policy.

Sen. Tom Harkin, an Iowa Democrat, knows Congress doesn’t have the votes to override President Bush’s veto of S. 5, the measure both chambers approved for embryonic stem cell funding.

Bush plans to veto that measure soon and Harkin’s expected move to add funding language to the Health and Human Services Appropriations bill is an effort to embarrass the president by making him veto it.

Harkin would likely get his wish as the president has repeatedly indicated he will veto any Congressional spending measure that promotes taxpayer funding for abortion or makes Americans pay for the destruction of human life in embryonic stem cell research.

"We would be very disappointed if the president were to veto an appropriations bills that has important … education programs to make a statement about research that millions of Americans support," Harkin spokeswoman Jennifer Mullin told The Hill newspaper. "But that’s the president’s prerogative."

Rep. Diana DeGette told the Capitol Hill publication that she and her pro-embryonic funding allies are “absolutely committed to making this law,” adding that “Republican leaders would just as soon this go away, but we’re not going to go away."

The move would also complicate efforts by Democrats on the House side of Congress who wanted to raise spending in the bill and have been trying to build a veto-proof majority by increasing the amount of funds under it for abstinence education.

The House voted 247-176 last week for the Senate version of the embryonic stem cell research bill and President Bush I slated to formally issued his veto this week, possibly on Monday. The vote was 35 short of the number needed to override a veto, ensuring Bush’s veto will likely be upheld.

The Senate will vote first on any veto override attempt and likely has enough votes to succeed. The Senate approved the embryonic funding bill in April 63-34 with three senators who supported the measure absent for the vote.

Since then, pro-life Sen. Craig Thomas of Wyoming passed away and with 99 members of the Senate president 66 votes would be barely enough to override.