Thursday, June 21, 2007

DeGette's response to Bush veto

June 20, 2007

Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Denver, offered the following statement at a press conference in reaction to President Bush's second veto of the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act.

"President Bush remains stubbornly defiant by once again vetoing potentially life-saving legislation that would give millions of patients and their families hope. Congress gave President Bush another opportunity to do the right thing, but once again he put politics before science.

"The president has become a roadblock to allowing this research to unlock doors to treatments and cures for numerous diseases and conditions — including diabetes, Parkinson's, and multiple sclerosis.

"I can understand why President Bush is hiding from the public to veto this legislation in private — he refuses to meet with us, he refuses to give ground, and he continues to turn his head to the promise of embryonic stem cell research.

"Today's Executive Order by President Bush is not a substitute for the promise of embryonic stem cell research.

"I support all forms of ethical stem cell research. However, the vast majority of scientists agree that embryonic stem cell research offers the greatest promise for developing treatments and cures for countless diseases and conditions. That is why I and a bipartisan majority of Congress feel strongly that we must allow federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.

"While I support these other methods of research, the consensus among the scientific community is that these methods are years behind the progress of embryonic stem cell research.

"An example of this progress was the recent announcement by British scientists that embryonic stem cells may be used to cure a form of macular degeneration within five years. This research was made possible by an anonymous donation from a U.S. donor, who has become frustrated by curbs on stem cell work in this country.

"A recent Gallup Poll found growing support among the American public; nearly 65 percent of the American people support embryonic stem cell research.

"Despite passing both Houses of Congress with broad, bipartisan majorities, the president again turns his back on Congress and the American people.

"The Senate gets it. The House gets it. The American people get it. Why doesn't the president?

"Every time the Congress overwhelmingly passes the stem cell bill, the president calls for additional research that is already under way. He can try to change the debate about stem cell research, but the facts remain: embryonic stem cell research shows the most promise, and is supported by a solid majority of the American public.

"I will not let one stubborn man stand in our way — I am committed to making this bill become law. With every new vote in the House and Senate, we come closer to a veto proof majority.

"The 2006 election was largely a referendum on President Bush's policies and the results make clear that his first veto was a mistake.

"As one of the major legislative agenda items of the newly elected Democratic Congress, the House again passed this with an even greater majority in January — of the 16 new Democratic votes in support, 14 were cast by members who defeated or replaced Republicans who opposed this research.

"With the House passage earlier this month, we picked up two more votes. We are making progress towards overriding the president's veto.

"The president can do this the hard way, or the easy way — unfortunately he has chosen the hard way. I will continue to give the president the opportunity to do the right thing."