The Senate’s majority leader, citing his expertise as a physician, has announced that he would support an expansion of federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research. The decision put Senator Bill Frist (R., Tenn.) at odds with the White House and many conservative religious groups.
The fresh support from the Senate’s top Republican led colleague Arlen Specter (R., Pa.), to tell CBS-TV’s Face the Nation on July 31 that he hopes that Senate votes for his bill to expand funding will grow from the earlier-estimated 62 to 67—the number of votes needed to override an expected veto from Bush.
A House version of the bill has already passed but is far short of a two-thirds majority. Specter said he thought the Senate momentum would have “an impact on [lawmakers in] the House who can say, ‘Well, there’s a little political cover.’”