Leading U.S. senators are hoping to remove political roadblocks and pass legislation allowing the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other agencies to make Federal research funds available for newly derived human embryonic stem cells (hESC). Despite wide bipartisan support, however, their bill has been withheld from full Senate consideration due to a combination of election-year politics and a promised veto by President Bush should it be passed into law.The legislation, the ?Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005? (HR 810, S 471), which passed the House of Representatives in May 2005, would expand Federal research funding to hESC lines regardless of when they were derived. Current Federal funding is limited to an approved list of stem cell lines that were derived before Aug. 9, 2001, when Bush announced the policy. Senate Majority leader Bill Frist (R- Tenn.) ? who surprised many of his conservative colleagues last...

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