Iowa Senator Tom Harkin says he is hopeful something will happen with the stem cell research bill that passed the Senate, despite President Bush’s promise to veto the bill. The bill passed on a 63 to 34 vote, and Harkin, a Democrat, says three Senators who support the bill did not vote.
Harkin says that gives them 66 votes, which is still one shy of the 67 needed to override a veto. Harkin says: "The momentum continues to build. The overwhelming majority of Americans – and their members of Congress – want to take the shackles off of federal researchers. They want to move forward with some of the most exciting and promising research of modern times. " Harkin says this is a different bill than the one he vetoed last year and includes the text of last year’s Specter-Santorum bill, which promotes alternative ways of deriving stem cells. Harkin says the President endorsed the Specter-Santorum bill last year.
Harkin says he hopes the president will reexamine the bill. Harkin says the bill also addresses the president’s number one concern — that federal taxpayer dollars not be used to destroy embryos. Harkin says the bill was expressly crafted to ensure that it does not lift the existing federal ban on using federal funding to destroy embryos. "So we have gone over halfway in compromising and trying to meet the president’s concerns," Harkin says. Harkin says this issue is not going to go away.
Harkin says:"I want to be very clear: If the President does veto this bill, and if we fall short of overriding his veto, then we will be back. Momentum is building. The public more and more supports this, they’re aware of what we’re talking about, and one way or another, we are going to lift these arbitrary restrictions that were imposed by President Bush on August the ninth of 2001." Harkin says the research would give hope to millions of suffering people who are desperate for new therapies and cures.