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. SA in OO

    In this highly charged debate the critics fail to mention that these stem cells are going to be destroyed anyway, and it's legal. IF you want to outlaw abortion then take up that fight directly.

    March 9, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  2. TanM Boener, WaxBrow

    no one believes obama wants dead babies, until these oldtimers come around that its facts the people want to deal with, they will and continue to be irrelevant thank GOD!

    STATEMENT BY NANCY REAGAN ON PRESIDENT OBAMA’S EXECUTIVE ORDER REGARDING STEM CELL RESEARCH

    I’m very grateful that President Obama has lifted the restrictions on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. These new rules will now make it possible for scientists to move forward. I urge researchers to make use of the opportunities that are available to them, and to do all they can to fulfill the promise that stem cell research offers.

    Countless people, suffering from many different diseases, stand to benefit from the answers stem cell research can provide. We owe it to ourselves and to our children to do everything in our power to find cures for these diseases – and soon. As I’ve said before, time is short, and life is precious.

    March 9, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  3. Tk1

    How much more money are you people going to allow him to spend??? yeah thats great stem cell research it's wonderful, my wife is a diabetic it would be awesome.... BUT WHO IS GOING TO PAY FOR IT ALL YOU IDIOTS?????????

    March 9, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  4. Olumadunwa

    It's so amazing sometimes to see how these so called republicans cry and oppose every single move by the white house. They will voice out anything, no matter how dumb or stupid it may sound, as long as it makes it to the press as a proof that they still existing. I'm sure most of these opportunists calling themselves "US senators" don't even have a clue on certain issues, they just talk! They oppose every single proposal from an opposition party and pride themselves as the right wingers – what a shame. John McCain, Chris Smith and the rest. It's all about re-election for them, even if such proposals will bring progress; how else will they be able to tell their constituencies that they opposed every proposal from the opposition? – How dumb?

    Wake up guys! Play your politics, but do it sensibly. You're free to oppose things that are not reasonable, not everything, just because you need to prove a point that you are right wingers.

    March 9, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  5. MDM

    this is similar to President Obama's decision to re-implement abortion funding for other countries.... Bush never mad it illegal to perform the research (Constitutionally he could never have done that) He did make it nongovernment subsidized research... let the private sector continue to pick up the tab on this... or is it Stimulus related to have 5 scientists researching this on the government payroll?

    March 9, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  6. Arlette

    Opposing embryonic stem cell research defies logic and reasoning not that anyone every credited John Boehner as a giant intellect. It is amazing how quickly the so called religious right lose their so called moral outrage when it becomes personal. It is said that you don't really know what your values are until they have been tested. It has been my experience that their social values do not hold up well under a personal "stress" test.

    March 9, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  7. jpg midwest

    how long should people live? As long as we can make them? Who should have children because if people don't die how can we have more children? Oh, I forgot, now we can kill the babies to save the old and sick!! Excellent choice!! After all we can't feed or house the people on Earth now. I know we are not looking at everyone living forever are we? Selfish fools!! Immortality is not for you!!! Just live your life and die in peace... Now, do something good like figure out how to make fido live forever.. Afterall it is man's best friend!! Where does it end??? I would say God help us but that would be lost on most of you... and why do athiests start thier comment with Thank God!!?? fools you are..

    March 9, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  8. Craig - Hastings, MN

    Well. Hooray for the President. This move to separate science and ideology is far overdue and hopefully will lead to medical breakthroughs, especially for the chronically ill. Any nit wit see this. Except of course idealoques like Republicans and right wing religious nut cases. Stem cell research works. That is plain and simple fact. If you don't believe in it then nobody is forcing you to partake in it's benefits.

    March 9, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  9. Engineer in Raleigh

    The GOP is not worried about embryos, they are trying to get uneducated, fundamentalist voters worked up into a tizzy. The stem cell ban had nothing to do with science, and even less to do with morality.

    These embryos come from fertility clinics, not abortions. Oddly, that does not seem to matter to the Republican base, who largely believe that "God did it" is a scientific theory ("Intelligent design"), and that human-animal hybrids are a threat to civilization (Bush's 2006 State of the Union Address).

    March 9, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  10. Arlette

    Opposing embryonic stem cell research defies logic and reasoning not that anyone every credited John Boehner as a giant intellect. It is amazing how quickly the so called religious right lose their so called moral outrage when it becomes personal. It is said that you don't really know what your values are until they have been tested. It has been my experience that their social values do not hold up well under a personal "stress" test.

    March 9, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  11. JH

    They used to think doing autopsy's and cutting up cadavers for research was horrible blasphemy also.

    Where would medicine be today if we hadn't been doing those things for the last 100 years...?

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

    It figures. GOPer's would complain about progress.

    If it were up to the religious right we would return to the stone-age, wouldn't we.

    March 9, 2009 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  13. Bill in California

    It didn't take long to get the flavor of the vile hate spewing forth from the mouths of 'The party who CARES'. After all the Republicans are only interested in becoming gazillionaires. Certainly the party who cares would protect life from it's procreation to it's natural end. YOUR HYPOCRITIC SLIP IS SHOWING DEMS.

    March 9, 2009 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  14. stop the obstruction

    Obstructionist, lame, and plainly idiotic! Hey Americans - vote these Bozos out of office in 2010 and thereafter!

    March 9, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  15. Steve, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

    Elections have consequences. The Democrats won and the Republicns lost. I could care less right now about abortion and stem cells. Keeping my job is more inportant right now. The right winger crowd just does not get it. To them it is obstructionist as usual.

    March 9, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  16. Kathy S. Cloughn

    No wonder so many Americans are getting health care abroad. We are behind and in a sad state of affairs. Don't stop the progress that could help so many people.

    March 9, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  17. Gimme a Break

    I agree with the Republicans. There is broad bi-lateral support for research on adult stem cells–research that has borne more successes than embryonic, I might add. There is not that kind of consensus on embryonic research, and it does bring up bioethics issues that merit review. Why not put the funds into non-controversial research that already shows greater results and promise?

    March 9, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  18. Ted

    It is mystifying how Republicans can claim to hold the moral high ground and to be defenders of the sanctity of life on this issue. These are cell clusters that will be DISCARDED anyway if they are not used for conducting research which could potentially save thousands of lives and alleviate enormous human suffering of various kinds. So how exactly are you protecting the sanctity life by saying that these stem cells should be discarded like trash rather than used for research that has incredible potential to help people? This is actually a very easy moral issue when seen in this light, and President Obama is merely doing the morally right thing.

    Morality is not the province of religion, it is the province of rationally based principles. Let's hold science to the latter standards to make sure that it protects and advances the interests of humanity. Let's not allow science to continue to be held hostage to the putative moral authority of groups whose religious faith is a rationally unsubstantiated appeal to sacred texts. Not all people of faith are incapable of engaging in meaningful rational discourse about moral issues, but those who are taking the lead on this issue are not being led by beliefs they could rationally justify to others.

    March 9, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  19. jpg midwest

    Gina Racine WI.... I dare you to prove that embrionic stem cells have cured anything in clinical studies... It is the adult stem cell that can be used and is proven... Lets create life to kill it. Of course where you come from that is acceptable. How many abortion clinics do you have in Racine? Over 10 in a city you can drive through in 10 min.?? Drink more Kool-aid... Typical liberals, all talk and no brains!! Oh and tell me where do we house and feed all of these people that never die? typical science, move forward without thinking of the consequences. Just because you can does not mean you should!!

    March 9, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  20. J.L.

    Turning back the clock??? Ideology trumps logic/reason in the minds of the right wing nutjobs again... How can ALLOWING for something to help researchers along be considered "turning back the clock?"

    “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.”

    And I'm sure Chris Smith being the scientist that he is... made this groundbreaking discovery that embryonic stem cell research has NO future. Geez... companies and governments must have been wasting millions if not billions of dollars researching something that Rep. Chris Smith could have simply told us doesn't work... End sarcasm.

    But now thinking about it, I'm sure they're going to beat this topic like a dead horse. The Limbaugh thing has been getting traction so they need something to latch on to... I bet you the stink the Republicans are going to make about this is just going to start getting worse.

    March 9, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  21. Accountability

    Voters will remember that the Republicans will do anything to save cells in a petri dish, but nothing to save their fellow citizens who are losing their jobs, houses and health care. The hypocrisy is astounding.

    March 9, 2009 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  22. Linda from Prescott AZ

    The right wing just doesn't get it. They can scream fire and brimstone all they want, but it just won't work.

    You, yes you hard headed, mean spirited, out of touch cranky old men need to take a breath and try6 to act like adults

    March 9, 2009 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  23. Tim

    I agree with Nancy Reagan and applaud President Obama's decision.

    March 9, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  24. Jason, Los Angeles

    This kind of regressive thinking is why, socially, we're a laughing stock the world over. The insistence that "morality" has to trump science is intellectually jejune. Simply put, these GOP voices are holding us back.

    March 9, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  25. Joanna

    Msg to GOP: welcome to the 21st century (now go home).

    March 9, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
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