Iowa Senator Tom Harkin says this week in Congress has brought him some of his highest –and lowest– times. Harkin, a Democrat, says he was elated with Tuesday’s bipartisan passage of legislation that would have raised federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. Then, he says, that elation vanished on Wednesday.
Harkin says “In one of the most cruel and cynical acts I can imagine, President Bush used his first-ever veto to kill the bill. Let’s be clear, in vetoing the bill, he also vetoed the hopes of tens of millions of Americans suffering from diabetes, from cancer, Alzheimers, spinal cord injuries and other diseases and conditions that could be cured by embryonic stem cell research.”
Harkin says the research is “life-saving” and is supported by more than 70-percent of the American people. Harkin says “Once again the president staked out an extreme ideological narrow position, a position that flies in the face of science, common sense and compassion. He refused to listen to other points of view, including the pleas of former First Lady Nancy Reagan. I’m told that Republican supporters of the bill requested an opportunity to talk to the president and he turned them down.”
Iowa’s other U.S. Senator, Republican Chuck Grassley, voted against the stem cell bill. President Bush says the bill “would support the taking of innocent human life” for the hopes of “finding medical benefit for others,” which he says “crosses a moral boundary” that society “needs to respect.”
In issuing the veto, the President said he’s hopeful scientific research can advance without expanding a small supply of stem cells already approved by the government for research. President Bush says “Even critics of my policy concede that these federally-funded lines are being used in research every day by scientists around the world. My policy has allowed us to explore the potential of embryonic stem cells, and it has allowed America to continue to lead the world in this area.”