STEM CELL RESEARCH ENHANCEMENT ACT OF 2005 -- (House of Representatives - May 24, 2005)
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Mr. LARSON of Connecticut. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 810, the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act and H.R. 2520, the Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Act that we debated earlier today. Both bills would expand stem cell research, which holds tremendous promise to curing and treating some of the most devastating diseases and conditions facing Americans today. This issue is about medical research coupled with high ethical standards and providing hope to those most in need--it should have no role in any party's political agenda.
In 2001, President Bush announced that for the first time federal funds could be used to support limited research on human embryonic stem cells, specifically ``existing stem cell lines where the life and death decision has already been made.'' Under this policy, only 78 embryonic stem cell lines are eligible for use and according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), only 22 of those lines are viable for human research. Since 2001, 128 embryonic stem cell lines have been developed that are ineligible for federally funded research.
Both bills--the Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Act that would create a new federal program to collect and store umbilical-cord-blood cells and expand the current bone-marrow registry program and the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act that would increase the number of stem cell lines that can be used in federally funded research--establish much-needed ethical standards and expand the possibilities of stem cell research for new treatments and cures.
According to the NIH, in the United States more than 4 million people suffer from Alzheimer's disease; one in every four deaths is from cancer; and every hour of every day, someone is diagnosed with juvenile (type 1) diabetes. These brave individuals battling life-threatening and debilitating diseases are not responsible for policy or debate, but they will be the ones most affected by the outcome of today's vote.
The President was quoted by the Associated Press over the weekend saying, ``I made it very clear to the Congress that the use of federal money, taxpayers' money to promote science which destroys life in order to save life is--I'm against that. And therefore, if the bill does that, I will veto it.'' This legislation will not create life for the purpose of destruction. These bills will expand the scope of research that the Bush Administration has already approved. It is unfortunate President Bush would dash the hopes of so many people looking for medical answers through research.
Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues join me today in advancing science and supporting H.R. 810. Congress and the Administration must not withdraw from progress, but embrace the immense opportunities that expanded stem cell research can have for the future and wellbeing of our Nation's public health.
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