The Senate passed a bill yesterday that would expand federal funding for stem cell research. The House of Representatives passed the same legislation in 2005 and will reconsider the bill today, where it is expected to pass on a simple majority vote. The bill will then go to President Bush, who has said he will use his veto power for the first time and reject the bill. Both the Senate and the House fell just short of a two-thirds vote on the bill, which is required to override a presidential veto.
Senator Gordon Smith, a Republican from Oregon, publicly pleaded for Bush’s support in backing the bill in response to the presence of Parkinson’s disease in his family, a disease that may be cured with stem cell research. “To watch people die of such a malady is to instill in one’s heart a desire to err on the side of health, hope and healing, to find a cure if a cure can be found,” Gordon said, according to The New York Times. The bill would allow the use of leftover embryos from fertility clinics that would have been discarded.