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Rep. Berman Votes to Give Millions Hope by Greatly Expanding Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Rep. Berman Votes to Give Millions Hope by Greatly Expanding Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Today, Rep. Berman voted to give hope to 100 million Americans by greatly expanding scientists' access to embryonic stem cell lines - when he voted for S. 5, the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act.

The House passed this critical bill this afternoon by a strong bipartisan vote of 247 to 176.

The House had passed a similar bill (H.R. 3) as part of the "100 Hours Agenda" in January. The Senate then passed S. 5 in April. By passing the Senate-passed S. 5 today, the House is sending the bill directly to the President's desk.

"Today Members of Congress, from both sides of the aisle, joined together to put patients first by passing this stem cell research enhancement bill," said Berman. "The American people spoke clearly this past November supporting the promise of embryonic stem cell research and it is fitting that Congress now send this bill to the President's desk."

This bill would expand the federal funding of embryonic stem cell research by lifting the restrictions on the embryonic stem cell lines that can be used for federally-funded research - restrictions that were imposed by President Bush in 2001. Most of the stem cell lines authorized for federally-funded research under the President's policy are now no longer useful for research. However, the bill only authorizes federal research funds for stem cell lines generated from embryos that would otherwise be discarded by fertility clinics. The bill also creates an ethical framework that must be followed in conducting this research under the guidance of the National Institutes of Health.

The bill is supported by more than 500 organizations, including the American Medical Association, AARP, Association of American Medical Colleges, and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, as well as many faith-based groups.

"More than 100 million Americans suffer from cancer, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, diabetes, spinal cord injuries and other debilitating diseases and disorders for which embryonic stem cell research holds great promise in finding new and better treatments and cures," said Berman.

"The American people clearly support research funding and the use of embryonic stem cells to address some of our most debilitating diseases," said Berman. "It is time this groundbreaking research is allowed to move forward."

This stem cell research bill passed the Congress in the 109th Congress, but unfortunately was vetoed by President Bush in July 2006.

"This research has the support of more than 70 percent of Americans and I hope that, this year, the President will reconsider his veto threat and listen to the voices of the American people by signing this bill," concluded Berman. "A bipartisan majority in the House will continue to fight to expand this life-saving research. This critical legislation will become law; it's only a matter of when."

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