Stem Cell Advocates Encouraged by Obama Statement
By Rob Stein
Supporters of expanded federal funding for stem research say they are encouraged by comments President Obama made this week about the controversial subject.
During a private meeting with House Democrats on Thursday, Obama said he will sign an executive order withdrawing limitations on the funding, according to a pool report.
"I guarantee you that we will sign an executive order for stem cells," Obama said in response to a question from Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.), according to the report. "God gave us power to make smart decisions, to cure diseases, to alleviate suffering."
Supporters of lifting restrictions on stem cell research had been wondering whether Obama might be wavering, because he had not yet signed an order, and also made some remarks that suggested the he might prefer Congress take up the issue.
On Thursday, Obama explained that he wants to work with the House and Senate to make the order solid, according to the pool report.
"President Obama said that we need to do it soon and we are working with him on the timing," said Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.). "I am encouraged by the fact that the president is on the same page as the leadership on this issue. President Obama recognizes the need to reverse former president Bush's restrictions by executive order and the need for legislation. We will work with the White House on that two-pronged strategy."
Lawrence R. Soler of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation urged Obama to take quick action to lift the restrictions. "Signing an executive order now is the single most important action needed to allow scientists to fully explore the promise of stem cell research," he said. "With a stroke of his pen, the President can change the pace of science."
Posted at 4:39 PM ET on Feb 6, 2009
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