Gov. Doyle: Urges House of Representatives to Override Presidential Veto of Key Stem Cell Bill

STEVENS POINT – Governor Jim Doyle today urged the U.S. House of Representatives to override President Bush’s veto of H.R. 810.  H.R. 810 is critical bipartisan legislation which would lift President Bush’s ban on federal funding for research on new stem cell lines.  Governor Doyle met with Jeanne and Cary Tauchman of Stevens Point, who have a personal stake in the potential life-saving research because their daughter Kara lives with diabetes.

“These families and countless like them hope that science may one day unlock the cures to diseases long thought incurable,” Governor Doyle said.  “We cannot turn our backs on these families.  I hope the House of Representatives 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 – and override the President’s veto.”

Yesterday, 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.

On August 9, 2001 President Bush announced he would limit federal funding to a few dozen stem cell lines in existence at that time.  Recognizing the vast potential additional stem cell lines may have, last year H.R. 810 passed the House of Representatives with bipartisan support, and the U.S. Senate passed the bill today by a vote of 63 to 37.  President Bush today vetoed H.R. 810, the first veto of his presidency.

“Congress has sent a clear message that we as a nation are committed to unlocking the great potential of this research,” Governor Doyle said.  “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, the House of Representatives should override the President’s veto of this important legislation.” 

H.R. 810 lifts the barriers on stem cell research that could lead to treatments and cures for a wide range of debilitating diseases and conditions, while imposing ethical guidelines that are stricter than those currently in place.  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.  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. 

Governor Doyle met with Jeanne and Cary Tauchman of Stevens Point, and their 19-year-old daughter Kara.  Kara was diagnosed with diabetes when she was 12, and will be insulin dependent until a cure for diabetes is found.  Kara is on an insulin pump, which requires her to test her blood sugar multiple times a day and adjust it accordingly.