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Public Statements

Alternative Pluripotent Stem Cell Therapies Enhancement Act

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


ALTERNATIVE PLURIPOTENT STEM CELL THERAPIES ENHANCEMENT ACT

Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, the issue of government funding of embryonic stem cell research is one of the most divisive issues facing the country. While I sympathize with those who see embryonic stem cell research as providing a path to a cure for the dreadful diseases that have stricken so many Americans, I strongly object to forcing those Americans who believe embryonic stem cell research is immoral to subsidize such research with their tax dollars.

The main question that should concern Congress today is does the United States Government have the constitutional authority to fund any form of stem cell research. The clear answer to that question is no. A proper constitutional position would reject federal funding for stem cell research, while allowing the individual states and private citizens to decide whether to permit, ban, or fund this research. Therefore, I will vote to uphold President Bush's expected veto of H.R. 810.

Unfortunately, many opponents of embryonic stem cell research are disregarding the Constitution by supporting S. 2754, an ``acceptable'' alternative that funds non-embryonic stem cell research. While this approach is much less objectionable than funding embryonic stem cell research, it is still unconstitutional. Therefore, I must also oppose S. 2754.

Federal funding of medical research guarantees the politicization of decisions about what types of research for what diseases will be funded. Thus, scarce resources will be allocated according to who has the most effective lobby rather than allocated on the basis of need or even likely success. Federal funding will also cause researchers to neglect potential treatments and cures that do not qualify for federal funds.

In order to promote private medical research, I have introduced the Cures Can Be Found Act (H.R. 3444). H.R. 3444 promotes medical research by providing a tax credit for investments and donations to promote adult and umbilical cord blood stem cell research and providing a $2,000 tax credit to new parents for the donation of umbilical cord blood from which to extract stem cells. The Cures Can Be Found Act will ensure greater resources are devoted to this valuable research. The tax credit for donations of umbilical cord blood will ensure that medical science has a continuous supply of stem cells. Thus, this bill will help scientists discover new cures using stem cells and, hopefully, make routine the use of stem cells to treat formerly incurable diseases.

H.R. 3444 will benefit companies like Prime Cell, which is making great progress in transforming non-embryonic stem cells into any cell type in the body. Prime Cell is already talking to health care practitioners about putting its findings to use to help cure diseases.

Companies like Prime Cell are continuing the great American tradition of private medical research that is responsible for many medical breakthroughs. For example, Jonas Salk, discoverer of the polio vaccine, did not receive one dollar from the federal government for his efforts.

Mr. Speaker, there is no question that forcing taxpayers to subsidize embryonic stem cell research violates basic constitutional principles. However, S. 2754 also exceeds Congress's constitutional authority and may even retard effective adult stem cell research. Therefore, I urge my colleagues to vote against S. 2754 and vote to uphold President Bush's veto of H.R. 810. Instead, I urge my colleagues to support H.R. 3444, the Cures Can Be Found Act.

http://thomas.loc.gov

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