Gov. Doyle: Statement on U.S. Senate Passage of Key Stem Cell Bill

The U.S. Senate today passed H.R. 810, critical bipartisan legislation that would lift President Bush’s ban on federal funding for research on new stem cell lines by a vote of 63-37.  Governor Doyle made the following statement.

“I am pleased that the U.S. Senate has passed this legislation, sending a clear message that we as a nation are committed to unlocking the great potential of this research.

“I hope the President will not stubbornly stick to his policy in the face of this vote – and instead will listen to the millions of families who hold hope that this research may one day unlock the cures to diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, and cancer. 

“The president’s policy is that the few stem cell lines created before he gave a speech in August 2001 are morally acceptable for research, but those created after his speech are not.  It’s hard to fathom how the date of a speech he gave is somehow a moral turning point for all humanity.  It is time to recognize a simple fact: this policy is arbitrary, it is hurting research, and it should be overturned. 

“For the sake of families in Wisconsin and across America who struggle with debilitating diseases, I am hopeful that the President will reconsider his position, and sign this bill into law.  And if the President fails to stand up for science, it will be a moment of truth for the Republican Congress.  Will they stand with America’s families, or will they stand with extreme special interest groups?”

Today Governor Jim Doyle and seven other Governors sent a letter to the U.S. Senate urging members to support H.R. 810. Governors from Oregon, Iowa, Illinois, New Jersey, New Mexico, Michigan, and Delaware joined Governor Doyle in calling for passage of this legislation.

H.R. 810 lifts current barriers on stem cell research, which are stifling the development of treatments and cures for a wide range of debilitating diseases and conditions.  The legislation greatly expands scientists’ access to new, healthy, uncontaminated stem cell lines that are off-limits to federally funded research under the current restrictions.  In addition, this legislation would impose new ethical guidelines, stricter than those currently in place.   

H.R. 810 has overwhelming, bipartisan support in Congress, and is supported by major medical and scientific associations, research universities and institutions, and patient advocacy groups.

A copy of the letter is available at