Whip Hoyer on Stem Cell Research

mr. hoyer: i thank the gentlelady for yielding. i want to congratulate both mr. castle and ms. degette for her leadership and for his TimeCode: 14:39:14.4 leadership on this bill. this is, i think, one of the most important bills that we will consider for the welfare of people not only in this country but throughout the world. mr. speaker, let us be very clear about what this bipartisan, moderate bill would TimeCode: 14:39:31.0 do and not do. this legislation which has 200-plus co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle would not permit federal funding for cloning. it would not permit federal funding to create embryos. TimeCode: 14:39:48.7 nor would it permit federal funding to destroy embryos. this important legislation simply expands the current federal policy of allowing federal funding for research on stem cell lines derived after TimeCode: 14:40:05.3 the arbitrary date of august 9, 2001. embryos created for fertility treatment that would otherwise be discarded. i recall on that date president TimeCode: 14:40:21.9 bush announced federal funds would not be available to support research on human embryo stem cells so long as such research was limited to existing stem cell lines. at the time it was believed that 78 stem cell lines were TimeCode: 14:40:39.7 eligible. yet today as we know only 22 such lines are available for research, and these lines are aged, contaminated, or developed without dated research. TimeCode: 14:40:53.0 meanwhile there are at least 125 new stem cell lines with substantial potential that federally funded researchers cannot use. thus, mr. speaker, i believe TimeCode: 14:41:08.8 the issue before this house today is this. will we foster embryonic stem cell research, research that holds great promise for the potential treatment or cure of diseases such as a.l.s., lou TimeCode: 14:41:27.8 gehrig's disease, alzheimer's, parkinson's, other diseases and offer hope to those with spinal cord injury and other injuries of the nervous system? TimeCode: 14:41:42.9 or will we stand in the way? i know that the opponents of this bill believe that we are ignoring the ethical and moral implications of such research. i do not share that view. but in fact this legislation TimeCode: 14:42:00.1 requires the department of health and human services and the national institutes of health to issue guidelines for ethical considerations. it requires a determination that the embryos would never TimeCode: 14:42:15.2 have been implanted and would have been discarded, and it requires -- may i have one additional minute. i thank the gentlelady. and it requires the donors' written informed consent. TimeCode: 14:42:34.6 mr. speaker and my colleagues, i realize this is a difficult issue for many. it is, however, i think an issue that the american people have made a judgment on. it is an issue which they, i TimeCode: 14:42:47.8 think, overwhelmingly support. the polls seem to reflect at least 60% of the americans ask the question that they support this important effort. they believe it holds promise. TimeCode: 14:43:03.3 for them, for their spouses, for their children. we have talked much about life on this floor. it is important that we do so. it is important that we do so in a thoughtful and principled way. TimeCode: 14:43:18.5 i believe that this moderate, well thought out, carefully constructed bill takes a step TimeCode: 14:43:28.9 that america expects us to take. this is the people's house. i believe the people would have us pass this legislation. and i urge my colleagues to vote accordingly.