Thursday, February 05, 2009

Waiting for Obama -- The Stem Cell Delay

Wondering what Obama is wating for? When will he revoke George Bush's rules on human embryonic stem cell research?

It might be in a few weeks or perhaps even much longer, based on a story in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Reporter Marie McCullough wrote earlier this week,
"Rep. Mike Castle (R., Del.), a congressional champion of the research, said that last week, he explicitly asked White House officials about it.

"'I believe there will be an executive order lifting the funding ban,' Castle said. 'My speculation is that it will happen in a few weeks. . . . They've had a lot of things to deal with. I see no bump in the road.'"
She continued,
"Not until four days before the inauguration, during a CNN interview, did Obama say he would 'prefer' that Congress pass legislation removing Bush's restrictions, 'because those are the people's representatives.'

"That comment prompted some patients' groups to gripe that Obama was backpedaling on his campaign promise.

"But leading scientists also believe that research policy is better set by a comprehensive law than by a revocable directive.

"'I would agree with that,' said John Gearhart, a stem-cell-research pioneer who was wooed last year from Johns Hopkins University to the University of Pennsylvania. 'As researchers, we need a stable base.'"
Legislation can require many months, if not longer, to work its way through Congress, depending on other competing priorities, of which there are many, in Washington.

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