WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Obama signed an executive order Monday repealing a Bush-era policy that limited federal tax dollars for embryonic stem cell research.
Obama's move overturns an order signed by President Bush in 2001 that barred the National Institutes of Health from funding research on embryonic stem cells beyond using 60 cell lines that existed at that time.
Obama also signed a presidential memorandum establishing greater independence for federal science policies and programs.
Critics of the Bush administration argued the former president allowed political factors improperly to influence funding decisions for science initiatives as well as to skew official government findings on issues such as global warming.
Obama's action is part of a broader effort to separate science and politics and "restore scientific integrity in governmental decision-making," White House domestic policy adviser Melody Barnes said Sunday.
In a conference call with reporters, Barnes said funding research is also part of the administration's plan to boost the plunging U.S. economy.
"Advances with regard to science and technology help advance our overall national goals around economic growth and job creation," she said, adding, "I think anytime you make an effort to try and separate these pieces of the puzzle, you're missing the entire picture."
Updated 12:11 p.m.