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DeGette, Castle Praise Executive Order To Remove Federal Restrictions On Stem Cell Research

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

DeGette, Castle Praise Executive Order To Remove Federal Restrictions On Stem Cell Research

U.S. Reps. Diana DeGette and Michael Castle, chief architects of bipartisan legislation expanding stem cell research, today praised President Barack Obama for signing an Executive Order overturning former President Bush's restrictions on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. This decision comes after U.S. Reps. DeGette and Castle led a bipartisan group of legislators in writing a letter to President Obama urging he swiftly undo these stifling regulations by Executive Order.

"This Executive Order is long overdue and will finally bring hope to millions of patients and their families," said DeGette, Vice Chair of the Committee on Energy and Commerce and co-chair of the Congressional Diabetes Caucus. "For over eight years, progress on embryonic stem cell research has been stymied due to stubborn politicians who put politics above science. Researchers and scientists can now begin to unlock the cures for thousands of life-threatening diseases with potential life-saving techniques. I applaud President Obama for lifting these restrictions that will immediately allow this research to move forward. However, this is only the first step. Congress must quickly pass complementary legislation so that no future anti-science Administration will be able to hinder progress. I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress, President Obama, and my partner in this fight, Mike Castle, to ensure that we have a robust science program in this country."

"Today begins the dawn of a new era in biomedical research in the United States, which holds so much promise for millions of Americans," said Rep. Castle, lead Republican proponent of expanding federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. "I could not be more thrilled with President Obama's decision today to lift the restrictions on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, a change I have actively pushed over the last five years. Since 2001, we have fought a long battle in Congress to expand federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, only to face two vetoes from the Bush Administration and see scientific research stifled. Today's executive order removes a critical roadblock, but we must not allow this momentum to fade. Congress absolutely must not delay in codifying the directive to prevent science from being subject to the whim of politics. Strong leadership at the NIH remains vitally important for promoting basic science and I look forward to working with Congresswoman DeGette in gathering a bipartisan, bicameral consensus for finally signing into law complimentary legislation."

U.S. Reps. DeGette and Castle have passed two bipartisan pieces of legislation, under a Republican and Democratic-controlled Congress, repealing former President Bush's restrictions, which ultimately became the first the third vetoes of his presidency. They will host a press conference call at 1:45PM EST/11:45AM EST to discuss the president's Executive Order. Interested participants should call 641-715-3630 and enter code 515982#.

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