Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI) issued the following statement regarding the U.S. Appeals Court decision to overturn a lower court's ruling that barred the federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.
"I am encouraged by the U.S. Appeals Court's decision. This is an important step forward for researchers as well as the many patients who are counting on the great promise that stem cell research has demonstrated," said Langevin.
"Every day that we prevent investment in embryonic stem cell research is another day lost in the search for a cure to some of the most deadly and debilitating diseases, such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and disabling injuries affecting many of our returning service members. Today's decision acknowledges that there is a responsible way to pursue these life-saving treatments under strict ethical guidelines, and I am hopeful that a final decision from the Supreme Court will uphold this ruling."
Langevin was proud to attend the signing of President Obama's Executive Order on March 9, 2009, lifting President Bush's 2001 ban on the federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. Langevin also helped lead the passage of the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act, a bill aimed at removing the barriers to federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. This bill passed Congress twice with bipartisan support; however, both bills were vetoed by President Bush in 2006 and 2007.
Today's decision by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia overturns a temporary injunction on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research issued by U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth on August 23, 2010. Judge Lamberth's ruling halted all embryonic stem cell research that began as a result of President Barack Obama's Executive Order in March 2009, as well as the limited research ongoing under President George W. Bush's policy.
The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had issued a stay on Judge Lamberth's ruling before issuing their decision today, which allowed research to continue under President Obama's Executive Order. However, the uncertainty surrounding the process has deterred many scientists from moving forward.