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House votes on stem cells despite presidential veto threat

[JURIST] The US House voted 238-194 Tuesday to loosen restrictions on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research and the legislation now goes to the Senate, where it has strong bi-partisan support. However, President Bush has promised [Washington Post report] to veto the bill. Under the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act [bill summary], the federal government could fund research involving embryonic stem cells donated from fertility clinics, regardless of when they were created. Although the majority fell far short of the two-thirds needed to override a veto, sponsors of the legislation, Reps. Michael N. Castle (R-Del.) [Castle's stem cell website] and Dianna DeGette (D-Colo.) [official website] hope the vote will convince the President that a compromise is needed. A recent Gallup poll found that 60 percent of Americans find stem cell research morally acceptable. In a separate vote Tuesday, the House also approved 431-1 the Stem Cell Therapeutic Research Act [text], to provide $79 million in federal funds to collect stem cells from umbilical cord blood, facilitate medical research on therapeutic uses, and set up a national registry to help patients find matches. Reuters has more.

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