Friday, July 22, 2005

Stem Cell Legislation Stumbling in Senate

Following passage in the House of bills re both embryonic and adult stem cells and a filibuster-proof margin in the Senate based on an early nose count, it was not unreasonable to expect both sets of legislation would quickly find their way to the president's desk, where he promised to use his first veto to block expanding the policy he defined in 2001.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is having a difficult time getting members of the Senate to reach a consensus on what bills to bring up for a vote on the issue of stem cell research. There are four bills under consideration:
1. An adult stem cell research bill that was almost unanimously approved in the House and would create a national stem cell bank for umbilical cord blood.

2. A bill that would overturn President Bush's limits on using taxpayer funds to pay for embryonic stem cell research, which requires the killing of human embryos.

3. A measure banning all forms of human cloning.

4. A bill to fund the investigation of alternate methods of obtaining embryonic stem cells that don't require killing human embryos.
Taking action was problematic enough given the jockeying around these four bills, but now throw a SCOTUS nomination into the mix and it is clear Sen. Frist has his hands full for getting any of these bills to the floor anytime soon. For the record, as you'd expect, I'd like to see bills 1, 3, and 4 above advance quickly.

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