March 9th, 2009
04:25 PM ET
13 years ago

GOP lawmakers rip Obama over stem cell decision

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/09/art.csmith0309.cnn.jpg caption="Rep. Chris Smith held a Capitol Hill press conference about stem cell research Monday."]

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.


Filed under: John Boehner • Stem Cell Research
soundoff (226 Responses)
  1. Beverly, NYC

    Senator Perma-tan Boehner is against this, I'm shocked. The mother of 43 is alive today because of research on valve replacement. The hypocracy of the Republicans continues, they might be stupid but at least they're consistent.

    March 9, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  2. Jane (Minnesota)

    And how would you know this research wouldn't benefit mankind, Mr. Boehner???? Why don't you focus on what will solve America's economic mess instead and not use this as your distraction from doing what is more important???

    March 9, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  3. tax all

    We are sooo far in debt, that China is very unhappy with America right now. It’s called a budget

    March 9, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  4. lovable liberal

    Wrong, Republicans. Obama's timing is perfect. Like us, he's turning the clock forward. Instead of one hour, though, Obama's turned it forward eight years.

    March 9, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  5. Jerry

    "GOP lawmakers rip Obama over stem cell decision".

    That's like saying "Spanish Inquisition still critical of Galileo"

    Conservatives will fight progress anywhere they see it.

    March 9, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  6. Jared

    Most people remember a clever phrase that helps illustrate the point of a, well, sense of urgency...In regards to the GOP, it should no longer stand for Grand Old Party, but Get Off the Pot, cause youve done enough $%^#@ing on this country.

    March 9, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  7. gore not science

    Those liberals who accuse Bush of using religion to make policy in stem cell research should be careful about throwing stones. Let’s talk about religion in government:
    1. Global warming beliefs – not based on facts, generating immediate and expensive policy
    2. Obama-mania — ignoring the lack of experience, the bad economic decisions, the delegation of presidential responsibility to Nancy Pelosi, etc. etc. and yet the faithful still support his presidency
    3. Global “test” — the belief that others will love the USA if only we were more friendly to our enemies.

    All of these liberal orthodoxies stretch faith much more than the decision by Bush NOT to ignore the religious beliefs of a large part of this country by spending tax dollars on embryonic stem cell research.

    After all this is said, I believe that embryonic stem cell research should go ahead, but I do NOT think the US government should fund it.

    March 9, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  8. R in Maine

    "Turning the clock back?" Stem cell research is new, at the leading edge of medical technology. You have your clock on inside out. These people have no sense of what is important. They want living people to die so that the can tell everyone how concerned they are for the unborn. They have no concern for the living, just the unborn and the undead.

    March 9, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  9. Kiddo

    Obama's right.
    GOP is wrong.
    There's nothing for the GOP to rip.

    March 9, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  10. RICO

    Is there ever going to be an issue or an action the President does without someone from the GOP crying about it.

    March 9, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  11. Karen

    If they had a family member who could benefit or even be saved by this research, I’m sure they’d feel differently.

    March 9, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  12. rob

    Why is the Headline "Rip Obama"?

    Obama and the Dems are using this issue to "Rip" George Bush and anyone who may disagree on Moral grounds. Listen to the words "Restoring Scientific integrity" to Gov't. As i said in another post, These are the same people who like Al Gore are scaring us about "Man-made Global Warming". We are being told the science is settled on this issue and if we don't pay trillions in new "Carbon Taxes" the world will end as we know it..

    Thats the new "Sceintific Integrity" this admin wants us to believe in.

    March 9, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  13. Agnes

    And what of the sanctity of existing human life?... or are the infirm expendable? Shame on us for not progressing, so many lives hanging in the balance; our President has it right on this one.

    March 9, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  14. Eric

    Those republicans sure know how to pick the losing side of an issue.

    March 9, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  15. Dennis

    Wow. The Republicans are really living the in past... There are over 300 million Americans. "Millions of Americans" also think that we never landed on the moon.

    It's about time we stopped pandering to the crazy segment.

    March 9, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  16. Dylan from Minneapolis

    Republicans are against anything that might progress the human race. Go home GOP, you're out-dated and wrong.

    March 9, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  17. Joe

    The change is here!...Repubes, love it or leave it!!

    March 9, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  18. Eric

    Oh, boo hoo. The ridiculous religious who believe in fairy tales have hampered civilization long enough. An embryo does NOT equal human life – especially if it is out of the womb and frozen. Many religious people see the advancements of science as the regression of religion, and in many ways they are right. If I was a blinded Christian I would be doing the same thing – thankfully, I'm not. Good for the President, and good for the USA.

    March 9, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  19. John

    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.”

    What he means is all Americans as long as they agree with blind, bigoted, anal retentive people like him. While some strides have been made using non-emryonic stem cells, the vast majority of experience shows they don't hold anywhere near the potential for advancement as embryonic stem cells. If he won't follow Nancy's advice and say "yes" to this research then when the medical advancements start flowing and he or a loved one is suffering or dying he can just say "NO"!

    March 9, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  20. Jonathan Davis

    If John Boehner is so concerned about the sanctity of life then why isn't he against the death penalty?

    March 9, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  21. No comparison

    Kevin in Ohio,
    You are actually trying to compare a violent criminal with a stem cell? Get a clue.

    March 9, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  22. Tom

    I saw a poll yesterday that displayed 80% approved of the stem cell research decision made by the President.

    Republicans better start looking at these numbers and thinking.

    But then again I suppose they think they are still in Bush's protective cocoon. Not!

    March 9, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  23. NYFN08

    We have the progressive party on one hand, and the anti-progress party on the other. It is no wonder that the current crop of conservative Republicans is going the way of the dinosaur. They need a leader who will embrace a Republican brand of "change." They are still living 25 years ago in the Reagan days. While a great president, his policies and politics from 25 years ago don't apply today.

    March 9, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  24. Beverly, NYC

    I was waiting for this useless arguement!

    Llinda March 9th, 2009 4:15 pm ET
    This is a shame and blot on America. Obama calls himself a Christian but has no regard for the sanctity of life. Embryonic stem cells show no promise and even if they did wouldn't justify killing. Yes, it IS killing.

    Obama is not personally aborting or asking women to abort babies for the sake research. Once the deed is done if something good can come out of it why not. There are lots of people who call themselves Christians, Linda, who sit in judgement of others, have no problem eating meat (god's creatures), believe in divorce, commit adultry, and can consider themselves good Christian people. Let he/she who is without sin cast the first stone. Do your soul searching with your therapist, and let us like our lives best we see fit.

    March 9, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  25. jfs Memhis, Tn

    So what have they got to say to Nancy Reagan ???? I would love to see them address this GREAT LADY. The would look like blubbering IDIOTS. Lets get Nancy defending this position !!! This party is coming apart at the seams. GO NANCY

    March 9, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
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