Senate Democrats Press Frist on Stem Cells

Harry Reid (D-NV) and Senate Democrats used the opportunity of Bill Frist (R-TN) declaring this week "Health Care Week" in the Senate to again press the Majority Leader to allow debate on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. Democrats sent a letter to Frist last week, invoking the stem cell legislation passed by the House (H.R. 810) and taking him to task for refusing to bring it to the Senate floor for debate.

"We understand that you are planning a week of Senate debate on legislation related to health," said the letter, signed by Reid and 40 other Democrats. "We urge you to bring the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005 (H.R. 810) to the Senate floor for consideration during this 'Health Week.'"

"The House passed H.R. 810 in May 2005 -- yet the Senate has failed to take action for nearly a year. Further delay will mean more lost opportunities for new cures and new treatments. The Senate should mark the anniversary of the House vote with action, not more inaction."

Republicans have remained steadfastly opposed to stem cell research based primarily on objections from their Religious Right base, who believe it destroys human life and object to using taxpayer dollars to finance it.

Stem cells can be transformed into many types of cells, offering the potential for regenerating damaged tissue and scientists believe it may eventually lead to a cure for such diseases as diabetes, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.

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