July 7, 2006

STEM CELL LEGISLATION

 

Senate Scheduled to Vote on Three Stem Cell Bills
The week before the July 4th recess, FASEB sent letters to the Republican leadership of the Senate, including Senate Majority Leader Frist (R-TN), Senators Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX), and Rick Santorum (R-PA), adjuring them to
bring the Embryonic Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act (H.R. 810), which passed the House of Representative more than one year ago, to a vote by the full Senate. In addition, FASEB sent an alert to member society scientists in Republican Senatorsí districts, generating nearly 450 letters putting pressure on Senator Frist to bring the bill forward.


Apparently FASEB and other members of the stem cell advocacy community were successful in reaching the Senate leadership. Just before the Senate broke for recess, FASEB Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) surprised many when he took to the Senate
floor to announce that the Senate will vote on three stem-cell bills once Congress returns. Fristís move to bring the bills to the floor fulfills a vow he made to Senator Specter last year to schedule a stem cell vote in order to clear obstacles to the L/HHS spending bill.


It was widely assumed that at least one Republican would object to Senator Fristís efforts to put these bills before the Senate for to a vote. However, in the end, even the most
vocal opponents, including Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) believed that the supporters of the legislation to expand embryonic stem cell research should get a vote on their bills.


The agreement will allow a vote on H.R. 810, which would expand the current federal embryonic stem cell policy and allow public funding for research using surplus embryos from fertility clinics. The bill will also establish federal guidelines to ensure that
embryonic stem cell research moves forward in a safe and ethical manner. In addition to
the House-passed bill, the Senate also will vote on a measure sponsored by Senators
Specter and Rick Santorum (R-PA) to promote still-theoretical stem cell research
methods that would produce stem cells without additional embryo destruction and a bill
from Senators Santorum and Sam Brownback (R-KS) that would prohibit the buying and
selling of tissue from fetuses created expressly for medical research.

 

 

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CONGRESSIONAL SCHEDULE

 

The House and Senate return from the Independence Day District work period on July
10th.

 

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FASEBís Washington Update is brought to you bi-monthly by the FASEB Office of Public Affairs. We welcome your questions and comments Ė please contact Jennifer Zeitzer at jzeitzer@faseb.org or 301-634-7650. For more information about how to get involved in research advocacy, visit: http://capwiz.com/faseb/home/

 

   
   
 

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