Lawmakers Fail To Override Bush Veto Of Stem Cell Measure

(July 19, 2006)—As expected, a vote late Wednesday afternoon in the US House to override the president’s veto of an embryonic stem cell research measure fell short of the two-thirds majority needed to send the bill back to the US Senate.

Mr. Bush said the legislation would have taken "innocent human life."

Most Americans disagree with the president, according to public opinion polls.

A number of lawmakers expressed confidence the legislation would some day become law and some suggested Bush's stance could hurt Republicans in congressional elections this fall.

Rep. John Carter, R-Round Rock, voted against the measure Wednesday, while Rep. Chet Edwards, D-Waco, voted to override the veto.

Carter, who earlier praised the president’s veto, said the measure crossed a moral line.

“This bill crosses ethical boundaries, actually creating incentives to destroy human embryos. American taxpayer dollars should not be used for the destruction of human life," Carter said.

"This does not have to be an issue of scientific research or the protection of life. I am encouraged by the promising progress being made in alternative stem-cell research methods that do not require the destruction of human life, and I believe we should fund such efforts."

Edwards, however, supported expanding the number of stem cell lines available for federally funded research.
“Stem cell research holds great promise for saving lives and finding cures for terrible diseases such as diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, Lou Gehrig’s disease, multiple sclerosis, cancer, and spinal cord injuries,” Edwards said.

“For the benefit of millions of Americans with these diseases and their loved ones, I believe the law should allow embryos that would have been discarded at fertility clinics to be used for stem cell research,” he said.

Support and opposition did not break out along traditional party lines.

Nancy Reagan, the widow of President Ronald Reagan, and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist were among those who favored passage.

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