Friday, January 12, 2007

House backs broader embryonic stem cell research

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The new Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives voted on Thursday to lift President George W. Bush's restrictions on federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research.

But the vote of 253-174, largely along party lines, fell short of the two-thirds majority needed to override a promised presidential veto.

The measure passed after an emotional debate in which supporters touted the research as the best hope for potential cures for ailments such as Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, Parkinson's disease and spinal cord injuries.

Opponents condemned it as unethical and immoral. Bush restricted funding for the research in August 2001.

Bush, whose support base includes conservative Christian voters who tend to oppose the use of stem cells taken from human embryos, in July used the only veto of his presidency to date to reject an identical measure.

The White House reiterated Bush's intention to use his veto power, saying American taxpayers should not pay for research involving the intentional destruction of human embryos.

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