Fri, Jun 22, 2007 - Page 7 News List

Democrats seeking ways to get around Bush stem cell veto


US President George W. Bush has not heard the last of legislation to allow federal funding for new embryonic stem cell research.

Supporters were answering his veto yesterday with an effort to add to an appropriations bill permission to use federal money for new lines of embryonic stem cells.

Democratic congressional leaders were expected to bring back the bill and try to override Bush's veto, or just give the issue more air time. Neither chamber has the two-thirds majority required to succeed.

In the longer term, the stem cell issue will dog any candidate who sides with Bush, supporters of the legislation say.

"This will be an election issue in 2008 not just in the House, not just in the Senate, but in the presidential election," said one of the vetoed bill's chief sponsors in the House or Representatives, Democratic Representative Diana DeGette. "We ... intend to continue bringing this up until we have a pro-stem cell president and a pro-stem cell Congress."

It was a familiar exchange of rhetoric after Bush's second veto of the legislation. But this time, he is facing new Democratic congressional leaders planning to resurrect the issue in the bills they write, the committees they control and on the House and Senate floors.

Vetoing the bill a second time on Wednesday, Bush also sought to placate those who disagree with him by signing an executive order urging scientists toward what he termed "ethically responsible" research in the field.

Bush announced no new federal dollars for stem cell research, which supporters say holds the promise of disease cures, and his order would not allow researchers to do anything they could not do under existing restrictions.

"If this legislation became law, it would compel American taxpayers for the first time in our history to support the deliberate destruction of human embryos," Bush said. "I made it clear to Congress and to the American people that I will not allow our nation to cross this moral line."

He vetoed similar embryonic stem cell legislation last July.

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