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. Gina in Racine Wi

    They are kidding me, right?

    There is so much promise in stem cell research.

    I am so proud of President Obama (it feels so good to say President Obama) for putting science first.

    As for the GOP.......for 8 years they have told us that green was blue and purple was yellow.....as this past Election proves.....no one believes any of their spin any more.

    March 9, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  2. AndyL

    Why stop at embryos, let's solve many problems by also doing testing on the retarded, homeless and people I generally do not care about.

    March 9, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  3. Alice Newman Center Harbor NH

    Just curious: with all the care & concern for human embryos ... what have each of these outspoken people done for the children who are already here?

    Have they adopted – preferably more than one child? Do they foster children who need help? Does this party even believe in paying a living wage to parents or supplying health care to kids who can't afford it?

    St. Ronald the Reagan tried to get school lunch programs to consider ketchup as a vegetable; cheaper ...

    When every child who is already born is cared for ... then maybe I'll have time and energy worrying about the human embryos who will either frozen forever (not much of a life) or scheduled to be thrown out (more useful to help someone?)

    March 9, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  4. Jeff

    Sure, and the world is flat, isn't it? Scientists and physicians...you know the REALLY smart and rational people who use empirical evidence instead of moral "voices in their head" ideology have voiced overwhelming support for embryonic stem cell research. And the "moralist" RepubliCON hypocrites have no problem with thousands of U.S. soldiers and tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis being killed in an unjust war.

    March 9, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  5. Marc

    President Obama was exactly correct in reversing course on this issue. Bush was simply pandering to his religious ideaologues when he cut off funding back then. Stem cell research can and will help propel modern medicine forward on cures to cancers, diabetes, etc...
    Ignore the naysayers. They are just flat out wrong here.

    March 9, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  6. Irma in North Carolina

    May be if some disease hits some of thes republicans family that there is no cure for they will think different about the stem cell deal. Just remember all you republicans who are against this dont forget what goes around comes around.

    March 9, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  7. Big Ed

    Tell the GOP'ers to call up Nancy Reagan, you know "The Gipper's" widow? They idolize Ronald Reagan, and then slam President Obama when he makes a decision that Mrs. Reagan publicly applauds. Makes little sense to me!

    March 9, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  8. Deb

    I applaud our President's decision. We need the research.

    March 9, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  9. Ray Fisher

    I too am appalled by the abortion laws and mentality in our nation yet as long as abortion is legal, why not use the aborted fetus for some good at least???? We mustn't regress to body harvesting yet until we regain responsibility in our nation over our actions we mustn't allow abortions to be wasted when much help can be garnered for our mature, disabled, diseased, crippled and handicapped citizens!!!

    March 9, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  10. Kaye -Jacksonville FL

    I'll have the last laugh when Boehner, McConnell and this Chris Smith bozo are diagnosed with early on-set Alzheimer's Disease....they're already showing symptoms! They would rather hinder scientific research on horrific afflictions than release embryos that will be destroyed anyway – pathetic.

    March 9, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  11. Pat F

    What a non-story. California has had a huge stem cell research program – billions of dollars' worth – for years. The so-called "ban on stem cell research" was a ban on spending Federal dollars for it. The much more efficient private and State sectors were spending hand over fist on stem cell research – and accomplishing very little scientifically.

    Obama's "pure science" memo is just a cynical joke. Reversing the stem cell "ban" is nothing more than a Democratic campaign contribution issue – not a real health care story. It's the Democratic version of "partial birth abortion" – it gets the base mobilized, and contributing money. But it's a red herring.

    March 9, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  12. The Leen

    This guy is a joke who's political posturing makes him look like the one who's turned the clock back.
    These stupid Republicans who insist that the use of embryonic stem cells is the destruction of a fetus are beating an incorrect, dead horse. Hey, Idiot Boy, The only embryonic stem cells to be used are the ones that would have been destroyed anyway. Read your facts first. I know, that's a difficult thing for a Republican to do. I mean, why bother reading when you can just spout off whatever comes out of your bottom?
    People don't need you to stir up trouble. Republicans gave the rest of us enough trouble to last a lifetime and most of us are concerned with getting out of it. Thanks a bunch for that.
    Mr. President, you are such a breath of fresh air. I thank you for giving me hope that my mother's Parkinson's might be curable.

    March 9, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  13. Dan, TX

    I plan to work on registering voters starting now for the 2010 election. We need to vote republicans out of office.

    March 9, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  14. AnnMM

    Well done Mr. President!

    and just continue to ignore the crazy people.......

    March 9, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  15. NYFN08

    "gore not science" You must be one of those who refuse to believe that there is scientific consensus on issues like evolution and global warming. Go ahead and teach your kids to bury their heads in the sand. It will do them the world of good.

    March 9, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  16. phoenix86

    I think for Obama, life doesn't begin until you reach voting age.

    March 9, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  17. Shadysider

    False moral outrage from the Republican Party. Business as usual. These are the same people who are FOR the Death Penalty and FOR pre-emptive war. These people are truly snakes. They're just worried about getting elected. The embryos should be considered collateral damage in the War Against Disease.

    March 9, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  18. KLS

    Millions MORE support this than don't. The stem cells ARE GOING to be destroyed so why can't they be used to help living breathing human beings who are suffering?

    March 9, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  19. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    BONEHEAD Boehner. Bush probably didn't even read what he was vetoing. You GOP leaders are really getting on my last nerve. I can't believe I'm actually saying this, but you guys need to take a page out of Sarah Plain's playbook. She appointed a justice that supports abortion.

    March 9, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  20. John Anthony

    All the GOP wants to do is gripe and complain about everything Obama does. Pathetic!

    March 9, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  21. Craig- Easton, PA

    More Repubs using ideology to make scientific decisions. I just don't get the preference for throwing unused embryos in the trash rather than harvesting stem cells. It's a bizzare viewpoint. And by the way, many more millions and a majority of even the last Congress supported embryonic stem cell research.

    March 9, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  22. Pat F

    Hey Tom! Some people actually hold positions based on principles, not on polling! I know that's an hard concept for a Democrat to absorb. But try really really hard to imagine taking a political position based on a real, deeply held belief, and not just sticking a finger into the wind, and setting sail.

    March 9, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  23. Cathy

    Ask Nancy Reagan what she thinks....

    March 9, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  24. Chaz

    It appears that no matter what President Obama does to get America back together as a world leader, the GOP will oppose it. To bad! We finally have a real leader, intelligent and bold, who understands this new century, and is ready to do his best to make it better for Americans despite the Republicans trying to thwart his every effort. Kudos for his move to get science back on the agenda.

    March 9, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  25. George James

    Can stem cell research find a cure for the lack of commonsense,
    commonly found among the members of Republican Party???As a physician,I am stunned by the medical knowledge they possess.!!!

    March 9, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
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