Senate Democrats

DEMOCRATIC LEADERS URGE PRESIDENT TO MEET WITH STEM CELL EXPERTS

Make final push to explain why majority of Americans support HR 810

Washington, DC–Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi today sent the following letter to President Bush, requesting a meeting with him and members of the research, religious, and patient communities to ensure he fully understands the arguments in favor of H.R. 810, the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act.

To the millions of Americans suffering debilitating illnesses for which embryonic stem cell research provides the hope of a cure, there is simply no alternative to H.R. 810. Unfortunately, the White House has announced that President Bush intends to use the first presidential veto of his Administration to block it. The Democratic Leaders urged President Bush to take the time to listen to experts and fully consider the views of the many supporters of this bill.

The text of the letter is below.

July 18, 2006

President George W. Bush

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Bush:

The Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act (H.R. 810) is historic legislation that provides our government the opportunity to give hope to the millions of Americans across the country suffering from debilitating diseases. We are deeply troubled by reports that you oppose and intend to veto this legislation and are writing to respectfully request the opportunity to meet with you and representatives of the research, religious, and patient communities to allow you the opportunity to hear all the arguments in favor of it.

H.R. 810 carries with it wide bipartisan support in Congress, the support of an overwhelming majority of the American people, and the endorsement of major medical and scientific associations, research universities and institutions, and dozens of patient advocacy organizations. Before you commit to exercising your first presidential veto on legislation with such widespread support and so many far-reaching benefits, we hope that you would fully consider the views of the many supporters of this bill.

As you know, the current rules governing embryonic stem cell research have resulted in a patchwork of regulations across the country, which simultaneously impedes the development of a clear ethical standard for such research and prevents scientists from fully providing the benefits it could offer to the American people. Enactment of H.R. 810 would solve both problems, tightening ethical rules governing stem cell research even beyond your current policy and greatly expanding scientists’ access to the new, healthy, uncontaminated stem cell lines that offer so much promise for Americans suffering from debilitating diseases and conditions.

While two other related bills (S. 2754 and S. 3504) purport to affect this research, for Americans waiting on the hope new treatments and cures from embryonic stem cell research, there is simply no alternative for HR 810. Of the legislation before you, H.R. 810 offers the only opportunity for you to clear the way for research that could lead to treatments and cures for a wide range of debilitating disease and conditions. 

We ask you to take this opportunity to fully weigh the merits of this legislation. In the interest of making a fully informed decision on an issue of such importance to millions of Americans, we strongly urge that you convene this meeting before you take any further action.

Sincerely,

Harry Reid                                                                      Nancy Pelosi

Senate Democratic Leader                                               House Democratic Leader

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