President Barack Obama made a big deal of reversing former President George W. Bush’s decision to greatly restrict federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. But now there’s a good chance that the Bush-era policy will come back, The Hill reports.
Congress must act by the end of the year if it wants to guarantee a continuation of the Obama policy, as the new, more Republican Congress certainly won’t do so. An appeals court could rule either way on the restrictions during the next several months. But Congress is considering bills that would make the court’s decision irrelevant by clarifying a 1996 law that bans the use of taxpayer money for research where human embryos are destroyed.
A federal judge overturned Obama’s order in August, saying it violated the 1996 Dickey-Wicker Amendment, which makes it illegal to use federal money to support research in which human embryos are created, destroyed or discarded. But an appeals court allowed the current policy to remain in place temporarily until it rules on the issue.
Supporters of Obama’s policy have an uphill climb. “Obviously, with every day that goes by, it becomes less likely” that the bill will pass, Rep. Mike Castle, R-Del., a co-sponsor of the bill, tells The Hill. “I’d like to see it happen, but I’m not exactly holding my breath.”
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