DeGette Reintroduces Stem Cell Bill

Jocelyn is a staff writer for Science magazine.

In what may be an exercise in futility, Representative Diana DeGette (D-CO) this week reintroduced her bill that would codify the Obama Administration's 2009 policy easing restrictions on federally funded research on human embryonic stem cells. She's also found a Republican to replace earlier bill cosponsor Mike Castle (R-DE), who lost a bid for the Senate last fall: Charlie Dent (R-PA). Dent told The Hill that "this area of research is important to finding critical breakthroughs in a number of areas."

A previous version of the DeGette bill passed Congress twice but was vetoed by then-President George W. Bush. The bill isn't expected to go anywhere in the Republican-led House, however. And in any case, if it's the exact same bill as before, as her spokesperson says, it would not solve a conflict that U.S. Circuit Judge Royce Lamberth has said exists with the Dickey-Wicker law. That law bans federal funding for research that destroys embryos. Lamberth, who ordered a temporary ban on federal funding for human embryonic stem cells research last August that an appeals court later overturned, is expected to issue a final ruling on the matter as soon as this summer.

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