Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Boehner on Embryonic Stem Cell Veto

House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) today made the following statement on the House floor praising President Bush's decision to veto the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act (H.R. 810):
"The President today used the veto authority for the first time in his presidency. Yesterday Congress sent him two bills relating to emerging medical research involving the use of so-called stem cells. Today the President signed one of those bills, while vetoing the second. A third bill was supported by a majority of House members last night but did not capture the two-thirds vote necessary under suspension.

"The bill signed into law by the President today is a positive step forward, and I remain hopeful we can re-consider the other measure at some point in the future. Our colleagues Roscoe Bartlett, Phil Gingrey, Nathan Deal, and Dave Weldon deserve great credit for their hard work on these two measures. Their work bring new hope in the struggle to find cures that have eluded medical researchers for decades as they've searched for ways to defeat serious disease.

"The President's decision to veto the legislation authored by my friend from Delaware, Mr. Castle, should come as a surprise to no one. More than a year ago, President Bush warned the bill "would take us across a critical ethical line by creating new incentives for the ongoing destruction of emerging human life." Crossing this line, the President said, would be a great mistake.

"As the President also noted a year ago, there is really no such thing as a "spare embryo." Every man and woman in this chamber began life as an embryo identical to those destroyed through the process known as embryonic stem cell research. The embryos at issue in this debate are fully capable of growing and being born as healthy babies with loving parents. The notion that embryonic stem cell research relies on "spare embryos" that have no value beyond their possibilities for medical research is tragically and deceptively wrong.

"Many opponents of the President's decision today are driven by a passion for the preservation of human life and the desire to speed development of cures to chronic diseases. I have great respect for their commitment to this goal. It's a goal we all share. But passion for the preservation of human life is incomplete if that passion does not extend to the most vulnerable form of human life. It is wrong to force Americans to allow their tax dollars to subsidize medical research that depends on the destruction of human embryos. The Congress sent the President a bill that would expand the use of federal tax dollars for this practice. And the President rightly used his veto power to reject it.

"Because the vetoed bill originated in the House, the Constitution gives us the duty of receiving the President's veto message and initiating any legislative response. Having now been notified of the President's action, the House will now immediately consider the question of whether to override the President's veto -- which would require a two-thirds vote -- or to sustain it. For the reasons I've just articulated, I would urge my colleagues to join me in voting against the motion to override. No just society should condone the destruction of innocent life, even in the name of medical research. The President was right to veto this bill. It would be wrong for this House to overrule the President's decision by voting to override."

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