Statement on the House Passing Stem Cell Bill

i thank the gentlelady. i congratulate the gentlelady for the extraordinary work she has done not just this year but throughout the years on this very, very important issue which offers hope for literally millions and millions of TimeCode: 12:59:17.8 people, not just in america but throughout this world. mr. speaker, again today the new majority in this house demonstrates its commitment, its commitment to addressing the priorities of the american people. as we consider this legislation, the stem cell research enhancement act of TimeCode: 12:59:34.2 2007. let us be clear this bill, s. 5, has widespread bipartisan support in congress and certainly congress the american people. it passed the senate in april by a vote of 63 to 34. TimeCode: 12:59:51.3 and it's nearly identical to legislation the house passed in january by a bipartisan substantial margin of 253 to 174. TimeCode: 13:00:03.8 this legislation will pass again today. and thus the real question is will the president heed the will of the american people as expressed by bipartisan majorities in both houses of congress and sign this bill. will the president continue to TimeCode: 13:00:20.3 undermine the will of the american people? . this legislation would increase the number of embryonic stem cell lines for federally funded research. TimeCode: 13:00:34.5 current policy limits the use of federal funds for research only to those stem cell lines that existed when president bush issued an executive order of august 9, 2001. an executive order that accommodated the research we're TimeCode: 13:00:49.8 talking about, but limited. this policy severely restricts the potential for life-saving breakthroughs because only 22 of those stem cell lines are available for research today. and the vast majority of those 22 lines are aged, contaminated TimeCode: 13:01:08.7 or have been developed through obsolete methods. it cannot be stressed enough, this legislation only authorizes federal research funds for stem TimeCode: 13:01:20.5 cell lines generated from the embryos that would other wise be discarded by fertility clinics. thus, this legislation does not seek, nor does it certainly intend to destroy life. TimeCode: 13:01:38.0 it seeks to preserve life. former senate majority leader, dr. bill frist, who was once an opponent of efforts like this one but now supports them, has stated, and i quote, i strongly believe that embryonic stem TimeCode: 13:01:55.0 cells uniquely hold specific promise for some therapies and potential cures that adult stem cells cannot provide. that was dr. frist, the former republican majority leader of TimeCode: 13:02:10.6 the united states senate. mr. speaker, we have, i think, a moral obligation to provide our scientific community with the tools it needs to save lives. and this legislation accomplishes that objective. supporters of this bill understand that there is a TimeCode: 13:02:27.0 difficult issue for many americans and that it raises many questions that you humanityy has yet to answer. and that is why this legislation also directs h.h.s. and the national institutes of health to issue ethical guidelines that will ensure the highest TimeCode: 13:02:43.9 standards of scientific investigation. furthermore, mr. speaker, this bill dreggets the secretary of health and human services to conduct and support research on stem cells not derived from human embryos. the truth is, as demonstrated by TimeCode: 13:03:01.2 polls taken since 2001, the more americans learn about the potential for stem cell research, the more they support it. just last month, 65% of americans reported that they TimeCode: 13:03:15.7 supported expanding federal funding for stem cell research. this legislation represents the hope of millions of americans who are waiting for us to take action. i strongly urge my colleagues to support this bill as they have TimeCode: 13:03:32.2 before. it is an opportunity, it is a chance, it is a hope for better health and life for those whom we represent. i urge the president to reconsider his veto when this bipartisan piece of legislation TimeCode: 13:03:47.7 reaches his desk. and i urge my colleagues to support it.