First Read reports On Wednesday or Thursday, sources tell First Read, the GOP-controlled House is expected to vote to loosen President Bush's restrictions on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. The vote looms as South Korea's success in cloning human embryonic stem cells -- a double whammy of cloning and embryonic stem cell research -- continues to sink in, and it will mark the next stage in America's debate over science and the marketplace versus traditional values.
There is plenty of work going on overseas on this subject, as well as plenty of private research, and some states are even getting into the matter by appropriating state funds for embryonic stem cell research, in the hopes of having their state being the one where breakthroughs occur. Why is it necessary to appropriate federal tax money to further fund this research?As of yesterday, the bill had over 200 co-sponsors and no apparent obstacles in its path. Despite opposition from conservatives, Speaker Hastert is standing by his commitment to allow a floor vote. The Senate, which may take up the bill in June, is also considered likely to pass it with the help of at least one anti-abortion Republican, Orrin Hatch, and probably others. (Given Senate Democrats' support, it seems unlikely to get held up in a nuclear winter.)
There is no law blocking any of that other research. But some people have moral qualms about funding such research, and why make them support it (through spending their tax dollars on the research?
Of course not. The "Culture of Death" is a Democratic program.Observers are increasingly betting that this measure, rather than the overloaded highway bill, will merit President Bush's first veto.
I hope so. Bush was the first president to allow ANY federal funds to be spent on embroyonic Stem Cell research, and he did it after spending a very long time determining what could and could not be done, and ever since then people have been pressing him to relax his restrictions even more.The measure splits the GOP down the middle once again on the question of when life begins and ends, an issue that so recently had House conservatives charging to intervene in the Terri Schiavo case. But with some anti-abortion Republicans like Hatch supporting the measure, the dividing line is blurred. Also different from the Schiavo case: This time, it's GOP moderates who have the momentum. Ask yourself: When was the last time moderates -- who are, by definition, moderate -- got so excited about anything? Although social conservatives may be trying to hold the House GOP leadership's feet to the fire on this and demand that they derail the vote, NBC's Mike Viqueira suggests that Hastert and DeLay see the writing on the wall. Why not let the President deal this issue which so divides their ranks? One prominent GOP moderate tells Viq that the leadership has been stalwart on keeping their word and allowing the bill to proceed. Viq says the House bill could get 240-250 votes -- more than enough to pass, but short of veto-proof. "It is not a life-abortion issue," says Sarah Chamberlain Resnick, executive director of the Republican Main Street Partnership, which is running ads in support of the bill. "This is a science issue." Resnick tells First Read, "We certainly hope it won't come to a veto... We're not doing it against the President. We are doing it on science."