WASHINGTON - Pushing back against the Democratic-led Congress, President Bush
intends to veto a bill Wednesday that would have eased restraints on federally
funded embryonic stem cell research - work that supporters say holds promise for
At the same time, Bush will
discuss at a White House event his efforts to encourage work that could make
additional stem cell lines available for research, presidential spokesman Tony
Fratto said Tuesday.
President Bush poses for a photo with House Speaker Nancy
Pelosi during the Congressional Picnic, Tuesday, June 19, 2007, on the
South Lawn of the White House Washington. [AP]
The president has accused majority Democrats of recycling an old measure that
he already vetoed and argued that the bill would mean American taxpayers would -
for the first time - be compelled to support the deliberate destruction of human
"The president supports and encourages stem cell research - including using
embryonic lines - as long as it does not involve creating, harming or destroying
embryos," Fratto said. "That is an ethical line that should not be crossed."
Democrats made the legislation a top priority when they took control of the
House and Senate in January, but they don't have enough votes to override Bush's
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid appealed to Bush on Tuesday not to veto the
bill. He said the measure acknowledges the ethical issues at stake and offers
even stronger research guidelines than exist under the president's current
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi used Bush's veto threat as a reason to send out an
e-mail letter soliciting contributions to the Democratic Congressional Campaign
Committee to help elect more Democrats.
"By vetoing a bill that expands stem cell research, the president will say
'no' to the more than 70 percent of Americans who support it, 'no' to our
Democratic Congress' fight for progress, and 'no' to saving lives and to
potential cures for diseases such as diabetes and Parkinson's," Pelosi wrote.
"He will say 'no' to hope."
In light of the veto, Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., who planned to be at the
White House event, sought support for a stem cell bill he is sponsoring. It has
passed the Senate but has not yet been taken up by the House.
"My stem cell bill, which passed the Senate with broad bipartisan support,
offers a clear alternative for our colleagues in the House to significantly
expand federally funded stem cell research, while ensuring no taxpayer dollars
are used for the destruction of human embryos," Coleman said.
Coleman urged Democrats who favored the bill Bush was to veto to get behind
"Those who support the stem cell research bill ... are at a definitive
crossroads," he said. "Do they seek to advance lifesaving research for millions
of Americans suffering from serious disease or do they, in fact, prefer to keep
stem cell research at a political stalemate? "