After Bush Veto Senate Will Put Embryonic Stem Cell Language in $ Bill

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 20, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

After Bush Veto Senate Will Put Embryonic Stem Cell Language in $ Bill Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 20
, 2007

Washington, DC ( — Now that President Bush has vetoed a bill forcing Americans to pay for embryonic stem cell research, advocates of the grisly science plan to put language funding it in an appropriations bill. The move, a way to try to get funding without having to use an override vote, will likely produce another veto.

Senators Tom Harkin, an Iowa Democrat, and Arlen Specter, a Pennsylvania Republican, will insert language funding embryonic research into the bill funding the Labor, Education and Health and Human Services departments.

The full Senate Appropriations committee will markup the bill on Thursday, where the two are expected to include the funding language as an amendment.

President Bush has already promised he would veto any appropriations bill that contains language overturning his policy against funding abortion or embryonic stem cell research.

To attempt to get around his veto threat, Harkin and Specter will employ a different approach, according to a Roll Call report.

Unlike the S. 5 measure Bush vetoed today, which funds all kinds of research involving embryonic stem cells, the two will seek to move up the president’s timetable for what embryonic stem cells qualify for federal funding.

When he announced his policy in August 2001, President Bush said he would fund research on older embryonic stem cells but not ones obtained after that date because human embryos would have to be destroyed to get them.

Harkin and Specter want to move the August 2001 date up to June 15, 2007, making it possible for all embryonic stem cells derived between those time periods eligible for federal funds.

The White House has not yet commented on this attempt at a compromise, but the Bush Administration would likely see it as an overturning of his policy and it may very well subject the bill to a veto.

But pro-life legislative director Douglas Johnson of National Right to Life told the Harkin-Specter language would likely produce another veto.

"Such grandstanding won’t overturn the President’s pro-life policy, but it could result in the entire appropriations bill being vetoed," he explained.