Friday, July 29, 2005

Well, whaddya know.

Senator Soulless shows some . . . er . . . spine:

Veering From Bush, Frist Backs Funding for Stem Cell Research

By SHERYL GAY STOLBERG

WASHINGTON, July 29 - In a break with President Bush, the Senate Republican leader, Bill Frist, has decided to support a bill to expand federal financing for embryonic stem cell research, a move that could push it closer to passage and force a confrontation with the White House, which is threatening to veto the measure.

Mr. Frist, a heart-lung transplant surgeon who said last month that he did not back expanding financing "at this juncture," was announcing his decision this morning in a lengthy Senate speech. In it, he says that while he has reservations about altering Mr. Bush's four-year-old policy, which placed strict limits on taxpayer financing for the work, he supports the bill nonetheless.

"While human embryonic stem cell research is still at a very early stage, the limitations put in place in 2001 will, over time, slow our ability to bring potential new treatments for certain diseases," Mr. Frist says, according to a text of the speech provided by his office Thursday evening. "Therefore, I believe the president's policy should be modified."

Mr. Frist's move will undoubtedly change the political landscape in the debate over embryonic stem cell research, one of the thorniest moral issues to come before Congress. The chief House sponsor of the bill, Representative Michael N. Castle, Republican of Delaware, said, "His support is of huge significance."

(snip)


AFP/Brendan Smialowski

I wonder how Kay Bailey Hutchinson, who behaves like a high school cheerleader flirting with the star quarterback, will vote on this one.