Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Stem cell minuet proceeding almost as planned; Bush set to veto the most meaningful of three bills

Congress' action on three stem cell bills yesterday and today's expected veto of one of them by President Bush are front-page stories in this morning's Washington Post and New York Times, as was the case in the Dallas Morning News and I suspect most of the dailies around the country. As previously discussed here, this has been a carefully choreographed performance by the Congressional leadership and the White House to give them two fairly meaningless bills (S.2754 and S.3504) the president can sign -- giving the GOP a little defense to play when their Democratic opponents this fall claim the Republicans are against stem-cell research -- as well as another bill (H.R. 810, which would extend federal research support to stem cells derived from leftover IVF embryos) whose veto will allow Republicans to point to their vigilant protection of human life from the moment of conception on.

The House voted on S. 3504 (the Fetus Farming Prohibition Act) yesterday (roll call vote 379). The Senate's roll call votes are here: S. 3504 vote, S.2754 vote, and H.R.810 vote. The only wrinkle in the whole scenario occurred when the House failed to pass an amended version of S.2754, the Alternative Pluripotent Stem Cell Therapies Enhancement Act (roll call vote 380). The bill got enough votes (273) to pass on a straight up-or-down vote, but a 2/3 vote (285 in favor) was needed to pass it on an accelerated "suspension" calendar. As a result, the president may have only one bill he can sign today, unless something happens in the House this morning. Alternatively, according to the Washington Post, it's possible the president will wait until he has all three bills before he vetoes H.R.810.
posted by tommayo, 7:48 AM

Health care law (including public health law, medical ethics, and life sciences), with digressions into constitutional law, poetry, and other things that matter