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stem cell funding update

Guest Fritz

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Guest Fritz

As I pointed out on the previous thread, Congress, not Pres. Bush, is and was responsible for much of the problem with federal funding of stem cell research. Starting in 1996 and every year thereafter they have passed what is called the Dickey-Wicker amendment which bans, according to CNN,

"research in which a human embryo or embryos are destroyed, discarded, or knowingly subjected to risk of injury or death."

Congress has once again passed the Dickey-Wicker amendment and Pres. Obama did not veto it. In fact he signed the bill containing it. Here is CNN's article on it which has the headline,

Obama Signs Law Banning Federal Embryo Research Two Days After Signing Executive Order to OK It
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The article is on CNSnews.com not CNN.....a slight difference.

The amendment also only restricts money from the bill it is attached to from being spent on embryo research. Other funding may be available.

The provision was buried in the 465-page omnibus appropriations bill that Obama signed Wednesday. Known as the Dickey-Wicker amendment, it has been included in the annual appropriations bill for the Department of Health and Human Services every fiscal year since 1996.

The amendment says, in part: "None of the funds made available in this Act may be used for?(1) the creation of a human embryo or embryos for research purposes; or (2) research in which a human embryo or embryos are destroyed, discarded, or knowingly subjected to risk of injury or death."

CNS (Cybercast News Service) News.com is owned by the Media Research Center, a very right wing site. I think they are one of the groups that claims Obama wasn't really born in the US, so is not actually the president.

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Guest Fritz

Sorry EJ, I meant CNS, but I'm so used to typing CNN that my mind shut down and I miss-typed it and didn't catch it. And yes, I did it twice. Sometimes I wonder where my mind is.

I generally read anything from CNS with a healthy dose of skeptism, but the specificity of their reporting(quoting section and page) convinced me they were likely correct in their reporting on this.

As for other funding being available, I suppose that is possible, but the article said the following;

The next day, President Obama signed H.R. 1105, the "Omnibus Appropriations Act, 2009," which includes the Dickey-Wicker language. Unless Congress passes and President Obama signs new legislation to repeal Dickey-Wicker, it will now be the law of the land at least through September 30, when this fiscal year ends.

Now I have no idea whether CNS is right or wrong in that statement, but I do find it puzzling that Pres. Obama would issue a statement one day and two days later sign a bill that was in direct conflict with it and then not even bother to comment on it. Were I cynical I might think that Pres. Obama made his stem cell statement--that he knew would make no difference--simply to score political points, all the while ingoring the fact that Congress has been a major part of the problem. Now I don't happen to believe that, but it is true that Congress has been a major part of the problem and has been since 1996--five years before Pres. Bush was inaugurated. The fact is that Pres. Clinton did not get any stem cell funding through Congress and Pres. Bush got some.

FWIW, my own position is that both Pres. Bush and Congress were and are wrong on this issue, but what I mostly see is people placing all the blame on Pres. Bush and ignoring the part Congress played in the issue. I would argue that Congress is more responsible than Pres. Bush owing to the fact that funding must come from Congress, but I'm more than willing to agree that Pres. Bush was also guilty.

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President Obama made it very clear last week when he signed the Omnibus Spending Bill that this bill was a relic of the previous administration and that he disagreed with many provisions including many of the earmark provisions, but it's passage was necessary to keep the government running. He did not even have a "public signing" ceremony for this bill.

I think we need to give this administration and this new Congress a chance. It takes time. The bill in question was drafted and agreed upon in conference when the Repubs controlled the Senate and White House. The Prez does NOT have line item veto powers like the governors of many states to veto only distasteful portions. It's all or nothing.

Let's not jump to conclusions on the basis of this bill which was actually drafted under the previous administration.

I think if you want to know more about this Prez, let's go look at HIS website.


hugz all.. :lol:


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Guest Fritz

captainrick wrote,

The bill in question was drafted and agreed upon in conference when the Repubs controlled the Senate and White House.

Factually the part about control of the Senate is incorrect. In the 2006 elections the results were as follows: Democrats-49, Republicans-49, Independents-2. Bernie Sanders and Joe Lieberman were the Independents and both caucused and voted with the Democrats making it effectively 51 for the Democrats and 49 for the Republicans. Even Howard Dean says the Sen. Sanders votes with the Democrats 98% of the time and the only reason Sen. Lieberman ran as an Independent was because of his loss in the Democrat Primary as he had been a lifelong Democrat until that time.

As for being written and agreed to last year, again the facts don't support that. The bill that was passed was introduced Feb. 23, 2009 in the House, debated and voted upon Feb. 25, 2009 in the House and sent to the Senate.. It passed the Senate on Mar. 10, 2009 and was signed by Pres. Obama on Mar. 11, 2009. The information on the introduction and voting on H.R.1105 can be found here .

You can argue that much of HR 1105 was agreed to by House Democrats and Republicans last year and I won't dispute that. However, it was apparently not totally agreed to because the Republicans offered a number of amendments to sections of it during debate, all of which failed, most on party line votes making it the product of the new Congress. Also, things were inserted, such as the one the Senate inserted, that eliminated school choice in Washington D.C, after the House had sent their version to the Senate. The only reason the spending bill was not passed last year is that the Democrats decided that they would have a better chance of getting what they wanted signed with a Democrat in the White House since Pres. Bush had threatened to veto it. Therefore, the House, under Speaker Pelosi, would not allow a vote on the spending bill last year. Since that was the Democrat's plan of action, I think it fair to assign them most of the responsibility for the bill.

Lastly, Pres. Obama is supposed to be a new leader, but so far he isn't doing any better at leading his party on spending issues than Pres. Bush did with his party, and Pres. Bush sucked on controlling Republican spending. I sincerely hope you are right and that Pres. Obama will get his act together, but so far I see nothing to encourage me that he will. Pres. Obama's Treasury Department pressured Sen. Dodd (or his office, so far the information is not conclusive as to which) to insert a provision in the bailout bill to allow retention bonuses (that were contractually agreed to be paid to AIG employees in agreements made last year) and then Pres. Obama and most of the Democrats are suddenly up in arms over it. At the same time bonuses were moving ahead at Fannie and Freddie for the same reason they were being given to AIG employees.

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