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Senate to vote on stem cell research despite presidential veto threat

[JURIST] The US Senate continues debate Tuesday on embryonic stem cell research [JURIST news archive] funding with a vote set for Tuesday afternoon on the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act [text; HR 810 summary] to provide government funding for stem cell research, despite a definitive statement [PDF text] from the Bush administration that President Bush will veto the bill [Washington Post report]. The administration referred to the bill as "seriously flawed," adding that "destroying nascent human life for research raises serious ethical problems, and many millions of Americans consider the practice immoral." Though the Senate is expected to garner at least 60 votes to pass the legislation, it is not clear whether the Senate will obtain at least 67 votes to override a presidential veto. The House of Representatives passed the measure last May [JURIST report], but fell short of the two-thirds majority needed to override a veto. Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) [official website] has sought broad Senate support [JURIST report] of the bill, while Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) [official website] facilitated a vote on the bill after a year of inaction.

In a related development, both the House and the Senate will also vote [press release] Tuesday on the Alternative Pluripotent Stem Cell Therapies Enhancement Act [S. 2754 summary] sponsored by Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) [official website] that will foster stem cell research on stem cells taken from sources other than embryos, and the Fetus Farming Prohibition Act [S.3504 summary] sponsored by Santorum and Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) [official website; press release] that will prohibit "fetal farming," the method of creating fetuses for the sole purpose research. The Bush administration has offered support for both the Stem Cell Therapies Enhancement Act [PDF text] and the Fetus Farming Act [PDF text]. AP has more.

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