Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) indicated yesterday that he may attach a bill to expand federal funding for stem cell research as an amendment to the Labor-Health and Human Services 2006 appropriations bill. “I don’t like to put it on the appropriations bill, but we waited long enough,” said Specter, one of the primary sponsors of the bill, according to the Washington Post. The appropriations bill will be debated and voted on after the August recess. “I’ll bring [the stem cell research bill] us as the first amendment out of the box,” Specter said, according to Reuters.
The bill, which has already passed in the House, had been tentatively scheduled to receive a full Senate vote in the month of July. However, the bill has been stalled because of Republican attempts to introduce alternative stem cell research bills that would, among other things, only allow the harvest of stem cells without destroying embryos, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
“I think there has been an effort to obfuscate the House-passed bill with a collection of other bills,” Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), another primary sponsor of the bill, told Reuters. Stem cell research could hold the key to cures for such degenerative diseases as Parkinson’s, Hodgkins Disease, neural injuries, and diabetes.