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Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005 - Veto Message from the President of the United States (H. Doc. No. 109-127)

Location: Washington, DC



Mr. BOEHNER. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

The President today used the veto authority for the first time in his Presidency. Yesterday Congress sent him two bills relating to emerging medical research involving the use of so-called stem cells. Today the President signed one of those bills while vetoing a second. A third bill was supported by a majority of House Members last night, but did not capture the necessary two-thirds vote to be passed under the suspension of the rules.

The bill signed into law by the President today is a positive step forward, and I remain hopeful that we can reconsider the other measure at some point in the future. Our colleagues, ROSCOE BARTLETT, PHIL GINGREY, NATHAN DEAL, and DAVE WELDON, deserve great credit for their hard work on these two measures. Their work brings new hope in the struggle to find cures that have eluded medical researchers for decades as they search for ways to defeat serious disease.

The President's decision to veto the legislation offered by my friend from Delaware Mr. Castle should come as no surprise to anyone. More than a year ago President Bush warned the bill would take us across a critical ethical line by creating new incentives for the ongoing destruction of emerging human life. Crossing this line, the President said, would be a great mistake.

As the President also noted a year ago, there really is no such thing as a ``spare embryo.'' Every man and woman in this Chamber began life as an embryo identical to those destroyed through the process known as embryonic stem cell research. The embryos at issue in this debate are fully capable of growing and being born as healthy babies with loving parents. The notion that embryonic stem cell research relies on ``spare embryos'' that have no value beyond the possibilities for medical research is tragically and deceptively wrong.

Many opponents of the President's decision today are driven by a passion for the preservation of human life and the desire to see developments of cures to chronic diseases. I have great respect for their commitment to this goal, and I think it is a goal that we all share. The passion for the preservation of human life is incomplete if that passion does not extend to the most vulnerable form of human life.

It is wrong to force Americans to allow their tax dollars to subsidize medical research that depends on this destruction of human embryos. The Congress sent the President a bill that would expand the use of Federal tax dollars for this practice, and the President rightly used his veto power to reject it.

Because the vetoed bill originated in the House, the Constitution gives us the duty of receiving the President's veto message and initiating any legislative response. Having now been notified of the President's action, the House will now immediately consider the question of whether to override the President's veto, which would require a two-thirds vote, or to sustain it.

For the reasons I have just articulated, I would urge my colleagues to join me in voting against the motion to override. No just society should condone the destruction of innocent life, even in the name of medical research. The President was right to veto this bill. It would be wrong for this House to overrule the President's decision by voting to override.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.


Mr. BOEHNER. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself the balance of my time.

My colleagues, we have had a very good debate. This is an issue that has been very divisive in this House for the last year or so, and the President has made his position very clear.

But let me make the position very clear that embryonic research with regard to stem cells is occurring and is going to continue to occur. The issue here is whether Federal funds, taxpayer dollars ought to be used to destroy human life in the search for cures for other diseases. That is what the issue is, pure and simple. We all know that this research is going to continue in the private sector with private moneys.

But the debate that we have had is whether it is appropriate to take taxpayer funds to destroy human life to find embryonic stem cells. I believe that my colleagues, enough of my colleagues will stand up today to sustain the President's veto.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I ask my colleagues, to vote ``no'' on overriding the President's veto.


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