Chugging Along on the 100 Hours, House to Vote on Stem Cell Funding TodayJanuary 11, 2007 - by Donny Shaw
The House of Representatives is in session right now, debating H.R.3, a bill “to amend the Public Health Service Act to provide for human embryonic stem cell research.” This is the third of six issues that the Democrats pledged to pass in their first 100 legislative hours, and on the official clock of the 100 Hour Plan, they have more than 86 hours left.
As I have already blogged about, the bill is most likely going to be vetoed by the President. In fact, the White House issued a statement this morning, officially stating his intention to veto the bill. In the statement he objected to the bill’s use of “federal taxpayer dollars to support and encourage the destruction of human life for research.”.
Members of the House are feeling like they are close to having a 2/3rds majority in favor of the measure. It takes a 2/3rds vote from both the Senate and House to override a presidential veto. The Senate is now saying that they have 2/3rds support.
When the bill goes to the Senate, they are likely to add amendments that they hope will make the bill more attractive to President Bush. According to this Washington Post article, the amendments could include “funding for programs that donate unwanted frozen embryos to infertile women, a favorite program of Bush’s; require extra ethical oversight for stem cell research; or beef up support for parallel studies of non-embryonic cells.”
The article goes on to explain some of Congress’ option in the likely case that the President will veto, even if these amendments are added. “At that point, several strategies could come into play, including attaching it to a must-pass bill or holding hearings featuring desperate patients, which might embarrass the White House — all possible because Democrats now chair the relevant committees. Subsequent votes could follow, forcing a string of vetoes.”