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. Otto

    The Repukes are at it again but this time the votes will dictate the results. People are tired of their right wing Christian Hippocrates while taking along a gun in their bible.

    It's ok to kill innocent men, women and children but stem cells that are dumped are living breathing human beings. Oh what a sad state of affairs in the crazy minds of these God send Hippocrates.

    March 9, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  2. Nola

    I pray that none of these Republicans or their family members never ever are diagnosised with a disease that would be cured from what science will learn from stem cell. I was diagnosised with a non curable disease and I am praying that science will be able to find a cure for my illness using stem cell.

    I think these Republicans need to think before they open their mouths.

    March 9, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  3. Moving Forward!

    I don't think any of the GOP have a degree in chemistry and or biology nor have they done medical research so how do they become the authority on stem cell research?? If the GOP wants to do something constructive rather than cry every time the President makes a decision; then single handly stop this recession by buying millions in Kleenex stock!!! Anyone got a hanky for the GOP!!

    Congrats to the late Actor Christopher Reed who after damaging his spine in a steeple chase; became the spokes person for stem cell research, he did so much for this cause he would be proud Mr. President of your decision!

    March 9, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  4. KLK

    Stop your liberal rhetoric. The two great American scientists Boehner and McConnell know exactly what they're talking about.

    March 9, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  5. Unshrub

    Four, count them, four cells are called an embryo, and this is no more life then the blood I loose when I cut myself. Thousands of these cells are destroyed every year from those left over by fertilization clinics. Next republicans will be will want to force everyone to use every left over fertilized egg.

    March 9, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  6. tfc

    The Republicans should also criticize Obama for saying the world is round.

    March 9, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  7. Donald

    WOW – a President who does what he says he will do. Thanks, President Obama. You're doing a great job cleaning up what the savages left you to deal with.

    March 9, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  8. beevee

    Here they go again. The GOP leaders have nothing constructive to offer to the american people except criticizing everything that Obama administration is doing. I am really sick of these fellows constantly critical of Obama. Embryonic stem cell research may offer somenting that adult stem cells are unable to. Their ability to become many different cell types. Afterall it is the fertilized egg that divides and becomes a whole organism only under proper conditions. All the stored fertilized eggs in IVF centers go to waste after all. Why not use them to find cures to diseases.

    March 9, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  9. arithmetic is liberal

    Speaking of turning back the clock on science:

    30 years ago these same people were against in-vitro fertilization.
    60 years ago these same people were against organ transplants.
    100 years ago, these same people were against evolution.
    200 years ago, these same people were against microbes and viruses.
    400 years ago, these same people were against a heliocentric universe.
    600 years ago, these same people were against a round Earth.
    800 years ago, these same people were against autopsy.
    10,000 years ago, these same people were against the formation of cities.
    40,000 years ago, these same people were against creating fire.

    After all, fire creation research is a waste of the cave people's cockel shells, and we can get fire anyway when a storm strikes. Why bother learning how to create fire?

    March 9, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  10. rhoward

    What hypocrisy! I seriously doubt Smith or Boehner would turn down stem cell treatment if it was the only way to prolong their lives or their loved ones' lives.

    March 9, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  11. CNN = Jerry Springer of News

    “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.” – Ticker

    Rep. Smith has the gaul to say Obama is turning the clock back??? If more money were invested in this type of research we would be 10 years further ahead in research by now. Smith calls Obama an "abortion President." Well to me, Smith is an "anti-science Representative."

    March 9, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  12. arithmetic is liberal

    The Republicans blocking of stem cell research between 2001 and 2009 killed their greatest hero:

    Ronald Reagan.

    You hear that, conservatives? You helped kill Ronald Reagan.

    March 9, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  13. John

    Beverly, NYC March 9th, 2009 4:47 pm ET

    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.

    There is no place in the bible that says when life begins. Your argument is based solely on the OPINIONS handed down from antiquated christian mind 'controllers'. There is none so blind as he who will not see.

    March 9, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  14. Ben Dover

    To Erika KS----- The last time I checked the United States has an all volunteer armed forces? Maybe you're a prime example of why Kansas has budget shortfalls. Just for your own information the draft ended in 1973. Unborn babies have no choice as to whether they live or die. People do have a choice as to join the military or not.

    March 9, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  15. Oskar in SD

    Most so called Christians I know are hypocrites. I will bet that if stem cell research, be it here in our institutions or overseas, shows that it will stop Parkinson's, Alzheimer’s and many others diseases, they will "accept" its benefits. On the other hand so called true Christians will have a choice to reject these benefits and accept the alternative. It is after all America. We have a right to choices to make and some will make some that others don't like. But as is true in America, we can choose. That is why these Republican clowns just need to shut up and understand the world. Theirs has been so anti science that we are falling behind in many aspects of science, not just the biology of it. We educate the world’s brightest in our grad schools. Americans are a small minority in our own institutions from where much of this will come.

    March 9, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  16. Barbara Caniff

    The Republican party should be ashamed of itself. They are a selfish, stupid bunch of people and are only jealous that we have such a great leader in Obama. They are mad because McCain didn't get elected and would have done the same thing. I am from Kentucky and very ashamed of Mitch McConnel. The next time he runs for Senator in Ky, he had better run for the hills.

    March 9, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  17. texas teacher

    Bush was the first President to give the Fed money for stem cell research. Liberals seem to forget that.

    March 9, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  18. C.J. Williams

    This was the right decision to make in order to save lives.

    Republicans are against ABORTION but support CAPITAL PUNISHMENT

    Democrats are aagainst CAPITAL PUNISHMENT but support ABORTION.

    Whats the difference. Life and death is involved in both.

    March 9, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  19. meh

    Good grief. The embryos are tossed in the garbage anyway! What is "immoral" about improving someone's quality of life?!
    Why do some people hate science?

    tax all> So you think all scientific research should be privately funded? How exactly would that work? And how is it right when EVERYONE will benefit from it?...you know, the tax payers?

    March 9, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  20. Kelly

    You have to admit that this is one of those subjects that not everyone will agree on. Everyone has to make a decision on do you want research to possibly come up with cures for our various ailments by doing embryo research or come up with cures some other way.

    Sometimes choices are hard to make and they are not always pretty but at the end of the day if you can weigh your options and support your decision, I found that you will sleep much better at night. No matter which decision you make.

    March 9, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  21. To Rob

    Go ahead and live in your make believe bubble called limbaugh land. Where the high and mighty are on the right side of every moral issue. In the mean time, us folks in the reality based community will move forward after 8 years of backwards thinking and policies while the rest of the world advanced past us in leaps and bounds.

    You are the kind of person that cheered on the church as they burned Galileo. The GOP is the party of The Flat Earth Society.

    March 9, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  22. Andy

    Scientists would not be cloning Chris Smith anytime soon , so there is one last thing for him to worry about.

    March 9, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  23. Pro-progress

    It's hard to be on the opposition, huh? How did you like it when you denied the Democrats anything they proposed for 2 years while Bush was in power from 2007-2008? How did you like it when you were the majority and the other 50% of the country did not matter?

    I sincerely never thought the establishment was so aggressive. No wonder they consider being saints of human life but then send out thousands of soldiers to fight and die in the name of freedom without regard or remorse for what they have done and done badly...

    I'm so glad change has come to Washington DC. Eat it GOP!

    March 9, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  24. goggle earth girl

    The last time I checked,we didnt live in a Theocracy like Iran.I think we need to tax the churchs and make up the deficit in record time.

    March 9, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  25. Baze

    Turning the clock back, that's a laugh

    March 9, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
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