- Mar 6, 2005
- Reaction score
- Upper West Side of Manhattan (10024)
- Political Leaning
Surprisingly, Sen. Frist has come out of his coma and has come out in favor of embryonic stem cell research! I never thought I'd see the day. His rapture right constituents must be $hitting in their pants. Even Frist understands the benefits of the research and the ridiculousness of the argument that unused and soon to be trashed embryonic stem cells being used for science is "murder."
How will the rapture right react? Stay tuned!
How will the rapture right react? Stay tuned!
Source & the rest of the story:Veering From Bush, Frist Backs Funding for Stem Cell Research
By SHERYL GAY STOLBERG
Published: July 29, 2005 - The New York Times
WASHINGTON, July 29 - In a break with President Bush, the Senate Republican leader, Bill Frist, has decided to support a bill to expand federal financing for embryonic stem cell research, a move that could push it closer to passage and force a confrontation with the White House, which is threatening to veto the measure.
Mr. Frist, a heart-lung transplant surgeon who said last month that he did not back expanding financing "at this juncture," announced his decision this morning in a lengthy Senate speech. He said that while he had reservations about altering Mr. Bush's four-year-old policy, which placed strict limits on taxpayer financing for the work, he supports the bill nonetheless.
"While human embryonic stem cell research is still at a very early stage, the limitations put in place in 2001 will, over time, slow our ability to bring potential new treatments for certain diseases," Mr. Frist said. "Therefore, I believe the president's policy should be modified."
His speech received the approval of Democrats as well as Republicans.
"I admire the majority leader for doing this," Senator Harry Reid, the minority leader and Democrat of Nevada, said immediately after the speech. He and Senator Dick Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, said Mr. Frist's stance would give hope to people everywhere.
Senator Arlen Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania, contending they were discussing "the difference between life and death," said of Mr. Frist, "I believe the speech that he has just made on the Senate floor is the most important speech made this year, and perhaps the most important speech made in years."
He added: "This is a speech that will reverberate around the world, including at the White House."
Scott McClellan, Mr. Bush's chief spokesman, said Mr. Frist had told the president in advance of his planned announcement. "The president said, "You need to vote your conscience," Mr. McClellan said.
"The president's made his position very clear," Mr. McClellan said when asked if Mr. Bush would veto a pending bill that would liberalize federal support for stem cell research. "The president does not believe we should be using taxpayer dollars for - or to support - the further destruction of human life."
Mr. Frist's move will undoubtedly change the political landscape in the debate over embryonic stem cell research, one of the thorniest moral issues to come before Congress. The chief House sponsor of the bill, Representative Michael N. Castle, Republican of Delaware, said, "His support is of huge significance."
The stem cell bill has passed the House but is stalled in the Senate, where competing measures are also under consideration. Because Mr. Frist's colleagues look to him for advice on medical matters, his support for the bill could break the Senate logjam. It could also give undecided Republicans political license to back the legislation, which is already close to having the votes it needs to pass the Senate.
The move could also have implications for Mr. Frist's political future. The senator is widely considered a potential candidate for the presidency in 2008, and supporting an expansion of the policy will put him at odds not only with the White House but also with Christian conservatives, whose support he will need in the race for the Republican nomination. But the decision could also help him win support among centrists.
"I am pro-life," Mr. Frist said in the speech, arguing that he could reconcile his support for the science with his own Christian faith. "I believe human life begins at conception."
But at the same time, he said, "I also believe that embryonic stem cell research should be encouraged and supported."
Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian group, said today in a statement that Senator Frist's decision was "very disappointing but not a surprise," given the senator's previous testimonies advocating stem cell research. "As a heart surgeon who knows that adult stem cells are already making huge progress in treating heart disease in humans, it is unfortunate that Sen. Frist would capitulate to the biotech industry," Mr. Perkins said. "Thankfully, the White House has forcefully promised to hold the ethical line and veto any legislation that would expand the president's current policy."