Senate to Address Six-Month Moratorium for Human Cloning
Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) and a group of Senate Republicans will attempt to pass a six-month moratorium on all human cloning research as an amendment to a proposed railroad worker retirement bill expected to be debated today, Knight Ridder/Detroit Free Press reports. The moratorium became Brownback's "top legislative priority" last week when Advanced Cell Technology Inc., a Massachusetts-based biotechnology firm, announced that it had cloned human embryos as a first step toward therapeutic cloning. Brownback said the amendment was the "only way" to bring the moratorium before the Senate, where members of the Democratic leadership have resisted Brownback's previous attempts to seek a cloning ban (Bjerga, Knight Ridder/Detroit Free Press, 12/3). Brownback on Tuesday attempted to introduce his cloning ban, but Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) refused to grant him the chance to speak. After Daschle left the Senate floor, Brownback attempted to introduce a cloning initiative passed last July by the House using a Senate rule that allows lawmakers to bypass the majority leader if they have unanimous consent to do so. However, Brownback's effort was "quashed" by Assistant Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who said that although he understood "the sincerity of the senator from Kansas," the measure would be taken up in February or March as previously agreed upon (California Healthline, 11/28). If Daschle "is going to put up his agenda items without much focus, then we want to put up our agenda items," Brownback said. The amendment needs 60 votes to pass. Daschle said on Friday that he doubts the amendment will receive the votes it needs (Knight Ridder/Salt Lake Tribune, 12/3).