SENATE PRESSURED ON STEM CELLS

Science  02 Jun 2006:
Vol. 312, Issue 5778, pp. 1287a
DOI: 10.1126/science.312.5778.1287a
CREDIT: C. HOLDEN/SCIENCE

On the first anniversary of the vote on HR. 810, passed 24 May 2005 by the U.S. House of Representatives to loosen presidentially imposed restrictions on federally funded stem cell research, biomedical lobby groups and their congressional supporters held a press conference to pressure the Senate to pass an identical measure. Senators may have other issues—such as immigration—on their minds, but public support continues to rise, noted Sean Tipton, president of the Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research in Washington, D.C. According to the group's latest poll, 70% of respondents want the Senate to get moving on the bill, S. 471.

Discussions are reportedly continuing with Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN), who announced last July that he favors the bill and has repeatedly promised to schedule a vote. A staffer for Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) (pictured above), cosponsor of S. 471, says the current plan is to buffer it with two other measures—one calling for research on “alternatives” to destruction of fertilized eggs, the other banning “embryo farming”—that could make it more palatable to conservatives.

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