WASHINGTON (CNN) - Some GOP members of Congress, including the top Republicans in the House and the Senate, blasted President Obama Monday for repealing a Bush-era policy that limited federal tax money for embryonic stem cell research, with one conservative lawmaker saying that the president is “turning the clock back.”
Watch: Smith speaks out on stem cell research
“I believe Barack Obama is turning the clock back and ten years ago, it sounded like embryonic stem cells were the future,” Republican New Jersey Rep. Chris Smith said on CNN. “They're not.”
Smith, an abortion opponent, opposes embryonic stem cell research on moral grounds. Last week, he called Obama an “abortion president.”
House Minority Leader John Boehner said Obama and Congress should instead focus on non-embryonic stem cell research, and that this decision “runs counter to President Obama’s promise to be a president for all Americans.”
“I fully support stem cell research, but I draw the line at taxpayer-funded research that requires the destruction of human embryos, and millions of Americans feel similarly,” Boehner said in a statement. “As we move forward, I am hopeful that the President will re-evaluate this and other controversial decisions that put government at odds with the sanctity of human life.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called this a “troubling shift in U.S. policy.”
“With this announcement, the government is, for the first time, incentivizing the creation and destruction of human embryos at the expense of the U.S. taxpayer,” McConnell said in a statement. “I support biomedical research and I believe the administration would be far better served by directing taxpayer funds to research on non-embryonic stem cells, which is both effective and ethical.”
Updated 4:25 p.m.
(CNN) - As President Obama reversed the Bush administration's limits on embryonic stem-cell research, he said scientific decisions must be "based on facts, not ideology."
The president on Monday signaled a clear shift in tone from the Bush administration on a broad range of scientific issues.
Obama overturned 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.
Bush twice vetoed legislation that would have expanded federally funded embryonic stem cell research. Those siding with Bush say scientific advances allow researchers to conduct groundbreaking research without destroying human embryos.
"Advancements in science and research have moved faster than the debates among politicians in Washington, D.C., and breakthroughs announced in recent years confirm the full potential of stem cell research can be realized without the destruction of living human embryos," House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Sunday.
Obama also signed a memorandum that directs the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy "to develop a strategy for restoring scientific integrity to government decision-making."
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.
But it's not just on the issue of stem cells where science and politics collide.
(CNN) - Former first lady Nancy Reagan issued a statement Monday praising the president's change to federal policy on funding embryonic stem cell research.
Read Reagan's statement after the jump.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Obama signed an executive order Monday repealing a Bush-era policy that limited federal tax dollars for embryonic stem cell research.
Watch: Obama explains stem cell reversal
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.
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.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – CNN has learned that President Obama is planning to sign at least one executive order on Monday that will overturn Bush-era policy that limited the types of embryonic stem cell research that can receive federal tax dollars, according to administration officials familiar with the deliberations.
Obama's move will be hailed by advocates for those suffering from a host of diseases ranging from diabetes to Parkinson's disease, who believe that an expansion of stem cell research could leads to all kinds of medical progress and help eradicate various debilitating diseases. But many conservatives object to the destruction of human embryos because they contend it ends a human life.
The officials said the administration is planning a Monday event at the White House in which Obama will overturn an executive order signed by former President George W. Bush in August 2001 that barred the National Institutes of Health from funding research on embryonic stem cells beyond using 60 cell lines that existed at the time he signed that order.
(Updated after the jump with reaction from conservatives and GOP congressional leaders)