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U.S. Senate approves stem cell bills

Legislation to expand Federal research funding faces President's almost-certain veto; two 'alternative' bills also pass muster

Ted Agres
In a largely symbolic victory for biomedical research, the Senate yesterday (July 18) approved a controversial bill (HR 810) to extend Federal research funding to newly derived human embryonic stem cells (hESC). President Bush, who opposes the expansion of funding on ethical grounds, has reaffirmed his promise to veto this legislation, possibly as early as today. "It would be a real shame for the President to issue his first veto against a bill that provides so much hope for so many people," said Sean Tipton, vice president of the Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research (CAMR). "But if so, we're not done. This issue is not going away," he told The Scientist. After 12 hours of debate that began Monday afternoon, the "Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005" passed the Senate with bipartisan support by 63-37, four votes shy of the two-thirds necessary to over-ride a...

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