Congress Twice Tried to Overturn the Restrictions Imposed by President Bush in the Previous Two Congressional Sessions

House Follows the Senate, Passes Stem Cell Bill, But Not By Veto-Proof Majority; Bill Heads to White House, Veto Expected

Legislative Update
June 8, 2007

On June 7, The House of Representatives gave final approval to S. 5, the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act, by a vote of 247 – 176, still short of the 290 votes that would be needed to override the expected veto from President Bush. Earlier this session, the Senate passed the bill by a vote of 63-34, 4 votes short of the two-thirds margin that would be needed to override a veto. NAEVR Advocacy Manager David Epstein was at the official signing ceremony, at which Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) fulfilled their constitutional duty by signing the official copy of the bill that is sent to the White House. Several Congressional champions of stem cell research, including Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Reps. Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Michael Castle (R-DE), were also at the ceremony. Majority Leader Reid stated that Congress had amended the bill to boost funding for alternative forms of stem cell research that do not require the destruction of embryos. It also requires that any embryos used must come from in vitro fertilization clinics and have no chance of being implanted in a woman.