House Voting On Stem Cell Research Bills

Published: May 24, 2005

Two bills that would loosen restrictions on federal funding for stem cell research take center stage Tuesday in the House, with disease victims pleading for help and President Bush vowing to veto legislation he says would let science destroy life to save life. "This is not an easy vote for many Republicans ... and some Democrats, too, because you have pro-life and other arguments," said the sponsor of the more controversial bill, Rep. Mike Castle, R-Del. "There's a lot of tide against them voting for it." The debate is opening with emotional appeals from survivors of disease who credit stem cell science with saving their lives. The discussion will close before the vote with a message from Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas. Known for enforcing discipline on Republican ranks, Delay — like Bush — is opposed to the bill by Castle and Diana DeGette, D-Colo. The Castle-DeGette bill would lift Bush's 2001 ban on new federally funded research on embryonic stem cells, a process that requires the destruction of human embryos. Another bill sponsored by Reps. Chris Smith, R-N.J., and Artur Davis, D-Ala., has wide bipartisan support and backing from Bush. It would provide $79 million in federal money to increase the amount of umbilical cord blood for stem cell research and treatment and establish a national database for patients looking for matches. Many lawmakers said they planned to vote for both stem cell research bills Tuesday.

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