WASHINGTON – The Senate voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to reject restrictions President Bush has placed on embryonic stem-cell research. Bush plans to veto the bill, but his restrictions may not last for long after his presidency.
The candidates running to succeed Bush largely endorse federally supported stem-cell research. That support, coupled with the backing of a majority of Americans, means change is almost certain.
Bush has cast stem-cell research as a moral issue intimately connected to the question of when life begins, a question that echoed throughout the second day of Senate debate. Bush used the only veto of his career to overturn a similar bill last year.
But the majority of leading Democratic and Republican candidates support research on embryonic stem cells.
Former Sen. John Edwards, a North Carolina Democrat, strongly supports the research, while Democratic hopefuls Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., and Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., co-sponsored the Senate bill that would expand the number of embryonic stem-cell lines eligible for federally funded research.
That bill, known as the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act, or S5, passed 63-34. Sixty-seven votes are needed to overturn a presidential veto. The House passed its version of the bill in January, 253-174, also short of the votes necessary to override a veto.
Candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., supports expanded funding for embryonic stem-cell research, as long as embryos are not intentionally created for research.
Former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, a Republican who has few fans among conservatives for his support for abortion, has taken a fuzzy position.
Mitt Romney, the former Republican governor of Massachusetts, supported embryonic stem-cell research before 2005, but now strikes a balance. He still supports research with cells that would otherwise be discarded by fertility clinics, but he opposes federal funding for that work.
Only Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., opposes almost all embryonic stem-cell research. He led much of the debate on a second stem-cell bill the Senate approved 70-28. Penned by conservatives and the White House, it would expand funding for research on dead embryonic cells and other types of stem cells.
sponsored According to two 2015 surveys, 62 percent of Americans do not have enough savings to handle an unexpected emergency, much less any long-term plans.