Iowa Senator Tom Harkin is optimistic a bill to lift the federal funding ban on some types of stem cell research will be one of the first to come out of the now Democrat-controlled Congress. President Bush vetoed the bill the first time around and Harkin, a democrat, says he’s introducing the same bill again.
Harkin says he hopes the president will change his mind on the bill. Harkin says based on the vote last time, they would be one vote short in the Senate to override another veto. But Harkin says he thinks there are a lot of people who voted with the president last time, but saw what happened in the election and will give them the votes to override the veto.
Harkin isn’t as sure about the possibility for overriding a veto in the House as he says he just doesn’t know the answer to that question right now. Harkin says the outcome of the last election — and the specter of the upcoming election — may give the bill the boost it needs to pass.
Harkin says the stem cell issue was “a big undercurrent” in a lot of the races in the last election. Harkin says there are a lot of Republican senators up for election in two years that would probably like to change their vote on the stem cell bill to lift the ban on stem cell research.
On another topic, Harkin also hopes there’s a move to stop the President’s idea to put more troops into Iraq. Harkin says the groups that’re urging the so-called surge in troops are the “neo-cons” neo-conservatives, the same groups that Harkin says pushed the U.S. to invade Iraq in the first place. He says those groups were wrong then. “I think it would be the absolute worst policy,” Harkin says.
Harkin says it’s time for Iraq to take control of its own country. Harkin says Iraq has two choices, “get together and solve their differences, or go to civil war.” Harkin says it has to be Iraq’s decision and he doesn’t want to see “any more American lives lost because of this terrible mistake made by George Bush and these neo-cons who pushed us into this misbegotten, misguided, mismanaged war in Iraq.”
Harkin says the Iraq war was a big mistake. Harkin quoted Democrat Senator John Kerrey from 30 years ago in during the Vietnam war, “How do you ask the last person to die for a mistake?,” Harkin asked. Harkin says he goes by the Vietnam wall and remembers all the friends he lost in the Vietnam war who died in a war he says was “a huge mistake, a blunder.” Harkin says the U.S. has “real legitimate security needs for our country” that are not in Iraq.