Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Frist Will Attempt Stem Cell Bait & Switch

As Senate hearings covering stem cell research convened on Tuesday, the AP reports that Majority Leader Bill Frist intends to bring to the floor as many as five pieces of legislation in addition to the Specter-Harkin bill, "to give senators a way to vote for embryonic stem cell research without crossing constituents who harbor moral concerns."

Said Iowa Democrat Tom Harkin of the proposed alternatives, which are based on somewhat speculative science at present "I'm all for these alternative sources ... let's go ahead and pursue them. But we already know how to derive stem cells." A leading research into one of those alternative methods, Robert Lanza, agreed, saying a choice between funding his research and funding the type that is the focus of Specter-Harkin is "a no-brainer. We need to pass (H.R.) 810 [the House equivalent of Specter-Harkin]. I do not think we should keep the scientific community or the patient community waiting."

Senator Frist has gotten himself backed in a corner here. He supported research exactly like that envisioned in Specter-Harkin back in 2001, and now has come around to support this purely experimental science as an alternative. He's in a rough spot either way, and I am still looking forward to a mainstream news story pinning him down on this point (now that they're all obsessed with Karl Rove, this may be even less likely).

As I've said before, I certainly don't oppose research into these other methods. But Specter-Harkin is key.


At 6:17 PM, Blogger Heiuan said...

All things being considered, I have not been impressed with Senator Frist at any time during his Senate tenure.

What in the world did he have on the Republican Senators that ensured this second-term Senator became Majority Leader? Why not Specter or Hatch or anyone with some longevity and seniority? Did they just need a scapegoat for the nation's outrage when the Administration pushed a RW agenda?

IMO, Frist has been a pitiful Majority Leader. I can't say whether he's been a good Senator for Tennessee. I'm not his constituent.



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