Liberal House Republicans, led by Rep. Mike Castle (Del.), secured a promise from the GOP leadership to have a floor vote later this year on a measure to provide federal funding for so-called “stem cell” research. In reality, this means cloning and killing human embryos with tax dollars.
President Bush’s policy opposing federal funding of this research, implemented in August 2001, has long been a target of liberals. But up until now, Congress has not challenged the President on the issue. House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R.-Ill.) made the concession when Castle’s band of agitators–drawn from the liberal Tuesday Group and the liberal Republican Main Street Partnership–threatened to withhold their votes for the fiscal 2006 budget, which was narrowly adopted before the House adjourned last month. “With Hastert removing the House roadblock, legislation funding human embryos for medical research could pass both the House and Senate despite opposition from Republican leaders and the White House,” columnist Robert Novak wrote last week. “And Bush almost certainly would have to cast his first veto.”