We may have been right on Senate stem cell vote

In December, following the November US midterm elections, Richard Gallagher, the editor of The Scientist, wrote a linkurl:hopeful editorial;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/36654/ on the future of stem cell funding in the US. In it, he suggested that the Senate was just one vote shy of the 67-33 vote it would need to overturn a Presidential veto on the bill. He may have been right. Yesterday, the Senate voted 63-34 to approve the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act.

By | April 12, 2007

In December, following the November US midterm elections, Richard Gallagher, the editor of The Scientist, wrote a linkurl:hopeful editorial;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/36654/ on the future of stem cell funding in the US. In it, he suggested that the Senate was just one vote shy of the 67-33 vote it would need to overturn a Presidential veto on the bill. He may have been right. Yesterday, the Senate voted 63-34 to approve the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act. The three senators who didn't vote -- Connecticut's Chris Dodd, South Dakota's Tim Johnson (still recovering from a brain hemorrhage), and Louisiana's Mary Landrieu -- are all Democrats who voted for the bill last year. If all three voted for the bill again this year, Richard would be right. But that's not the important thing; the important thing is that President Bush has promised to veto this bill too, despite the Senate vote and a vote approving the bill by the US House of Representatives in January. That means the state of federal funding for stem cell research will remain the same as it's been since August 9, 2001, when Bush announced his restrictions on funding. Some are saying that the Hope Act, a second bill passed today 70-28 by the Senate, which encourages the use of 'naturally dead embryos,' will oil the gears a bit. Scientists, however, have said that's a misguided approach. It looks as though stem cell research supporters will have to muster their efforts for the 2008 presidential election.

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