Friday, July 22, 2005

Frist Stalling on Stem Cells

It became clear last week that Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist would attempt a blatant bait & switch effort on stem cells by bringing multiple alternative measures to the Senate floor beyond the Specter-Harkin equivalent of the bill passed by the House. It is becoming even more clear now that Bill Frist wants nothing more than to stall (and by stall I mean kill) any progress on stem cell legislation this month.

Frist is "insisting" (said Roll Call earlier in the week) that the Senate take up as many as six additional stem cell measures, and refusing to allow any debate unless that demand is granted. (Note: As I have said, I don't necessarily oppose these other pieces of legislation; what I oppose is their being used as shields to block progress on meaningful reform). Roll Call noted that prospects continue to grow dimmer for action on any stem cell front this week due to Frist's intrasigence, even in the face of a broad bipartisan majority of senators favoring passage of the Specter-Harkin bill.

Senator Specter, understandably frustrated at the lack of progress and the stonewalling from his own party leadership, said Thursday he is considering an end-run around Bill Frist by tacking the stem cell language onto the appropriations bill for the Department of Health and Human Services. "I don't like to put it on an appropriations bill, but we waited long enough," said Specter.

I hope that it won't come to that; the country deserves a full, honest and stand-alone debate on the Specter-Harkin bill - and if it gets that debate, I don't doubt for a moment that it will pass on its merits by a wide margin. Bill Frist ought to stop running for president for ten seconds and think about what's good for the Senate and the American people - or he ought to consider stepping aside as Majority Leader. His ambitions, coupled with the siren's song of the social fundamentalists, are clouding his judgment.

1 Comments:

At 8:56 AM, Blogger Jessica said...

agreed!

 

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