Pelosi Calls for Changes to Restrictions on Federal Funding for Stem Cell Research
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Monday called on President Bush to expand the number of stem cell lines eligible for federal grants, following the release of a study indicating that federally approved lines are unsuitable for use in humans, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Pelosi said in a news release, "The Bush administration's short-sighted policy needs to be changed." She added, "The potential of stem cell therapies to cure disease and alleviate human suffering is enormous, and it must be unlocked." Pelosi said that legislation has been introduced to lift federal restrictions on funding for stem cell research but that approval for the bill is not likely.
White House spokesperson Scott McClellan said federal rules would not be altered. McClellan told reporters that the stem cell lines were still adequate for basic research purposes. McClellan said the contamination issue "has been previously raised and discussed."
According to the Chronicle, opposition to federal restrictions on funding for stem cell research contributed to support for Proposition 71, which California voters approved in November 2004 (Hall, San Francisco Chronicle, 1/25).
"Our hope is that the new findings of researchers ... will cause the [Bush] administration to reconsider" restrictions on federal funding for stem cell research, a San Diego Union-Tribune editorial states. "Washington should not leave it up to California or other nations to move ahead on stem cell research," the editorial concludes (San Diego Union-Tribune, 1/25).
KCRW's "Which Way, L.A.?" on Monday included a discussion of the contaminated stem cell lines and how "what's bad for Bush may be good for California and its new $3 billion stem cell industry." Guests on the program included Independent Citizens Oversight Committee Chair Robert Klein and study author Dr. Ajit Varki (Olney, "Which Way, L.A.?," KCRW, 1/24). The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.