Stem Cells a Priority for the 2009 Democratic Congressional AgendaYesterday in her first speech in Washington since the election, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) indicated that...
Yesterday in her first speech in Washington since the election, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) indicated that Democrats would move quickly on a bill to expand federal support for stem-cell research.
While Ms. Pelosi did not offer a time frame for the stem cell legislation, she mentioned it as a “discrete piece” of the Democrats’ health-care agenda that could move quickly. In 2006, the Democratic Leadership introduced such legislation within the first 100 hours of Congress. Congress has twice tried unsuccessfully to expand President Bush’s limit on federal support of stem-cell research through passage of the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act, a bill that would have enabled scientists to use federal funding to conduct embryonic stem cell research using leftover human embryos that would have otherwise been discarded from in-vitro fertilization clinics.
Looking ahead, the news from Speaker Pelosi combined with President-elect Barack Obama’s indication that he would both support such a bill and repeal President Bush’s Executive Order limiting stem cell research, provides hope that in the coming months the United States Government will assume an important role in the advancement of this potentially life saving form of research.