The full U.S. Senate has agreed to vote this month on a package of three bills relating to human embryonic stem cells (hESC), including controversial legislation that would expand Federal research funding for newly derived cell lines. That measure and two less-contentious bills are all likely to pass, according to congressional and scientific sources, forcing President Bush to decide whether or not to veto the main bill, as he has promised. The long-sought voting agreement, reached June 29, was brokered by Senate Majority leader Bill Frist (R- Tenn.), Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Penn.). The main bill, the "Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005" (HR 810), would expand Federal research funding to hESC lines regardless of when they were derived.Current Federal hESC funding is limited to 22 cell lines from an approved list of 78 that were derived before Aug. 9, 2001, when Bush announced...

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