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. Victoria, Santa Fe

    Has anyone studied if right-wing extremist live a shorter life
    span from the build up of all that fear inside them? Just wondering.

    March 9, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  2. still hoping

    I don't support abortion, or obama, but I call them as I see them and rather than throw away the stem cells, try to have some good come out of something bad.

    Normally I disagree with obama, but contrary to popular belief, just because I disagree with obama, doesn't mean I am wrong, or as some on this blog always come to, it doesn't mean I'm racist, it just means I disagree with most of what he does or stands for ideologically. I also think history will show him as the worse, or one of the worse presidents this country has ever had.

    So for those of you who hate monger and ridicule just because someone disagrees with you, it really says more about your simple mind and makes us look good.

    March 9, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  3. A. Darton

    Now I will admit I don't know everything, but if they are left over embryos, which will be thrown away, how is that destroying a life? The embryos are going to be thrown away. So if possible why not let them help those who are suffering with these terrible diseases.If a cure can be found. I don't get where these Republicans are coming from. How is it killing ? They are going to be destroyed and thrown away. It's okay to go into a country who didn't attack you and kill innocent people, and some are children. To those who complain about taxpayer money being use, I wasn't for my money being used for that Iraq war, but it was used .

    March 9, 2009 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  4. The Only Guy Who Makes Sense

    Where are all the protests over people electing to have their embryos distroyed? I don't get it. If people can elect to distroy their own embryos, what is the difference in donating them to science?

    I wish all the holy rollers would start giving a crap about curing some very serious illnesses rather than protecting something in a petrie dish that will NEVER become a living human being.

    March 9, 2009 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  5. Camilla

    Welcome to the 21stcentury – we can now add to the knowledge and medical progress that the rst of the western world is working on!

    Please stop telling me what is morally correct (in particular while you possibly support the death penalty – and water boarding!)

    March 9, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  6. Will in Carson City

    This E.O. has nothing to do with whether or not your support embryonic stem-cell research. It has EVERYTHING to do with whether or not Joe TaxPayer should be forced to pay for it versus having scientists getting private funds for this. While this could be construed as an abortion issue, it really isn't the case.

    March 9, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  7. Joe, Georgia

    Once again our new President is moving our Country forward and the Republicans are standing in the way saying no. Science, medical research and technology have been areas that America has traditionally lead in the world and have produced great economic benefit for this country. In the last eight years, many other countries have taken the lead in this very promising area of research because we placed ideology ahead of sound science. If we continue to allow Republicans to stand in the way, the only thing we will export in the future is our fast food industry. Republicans will stop all advances in education, medical research, alternative energy and science for the sake of idealogy rather than support research and scientific advancement that has been the economic driver of this nation for the past 50 or more years.

    March 9, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  8. Kevin ST Pete, FL

    The more Republicans hate it, the more Ilike it.

    March 9, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  9. Mike in Kansas

    Its funny how the holier than thou Republicans change their tune about stem cell research when it may benefit their own lives.

    I remember Orin Hatch a true flagg barrer for the Holy Right but when he thought there was a potential life extending benefit for him (not that he was sick or anything) he became all for it.

    We should not create embryos to destroy them as if they are drugs. But there are other methods of harvesting stem cells.

    March 9, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  10. still hoping

    Science is not exact, or as Phoebe put it, are you so arrogant that you think just because science says its so that it is? Weren't the greatest scientific minds of Columbus's time convinced that the earth was flat, or during Gaileo's time convinced that the earth was the center of the universe and they were proven wrong. So why do you think it's idiotic that someone might not agree with the current greatest minds reasoning. Are you that closed minded and pompous????

    March 9, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  11. Josh

    Do any of you people here realize that adult skin cells can be reverted to be stem cells? There is no need to actually destroy embryos; some scientists simply want to do it because it is easier and less costly. Whether you think it is killing a human life or not to use embryos in research, there is no need continue using them. It's as if we have doctors still prescribing leeching since it 'might work', when we've already found other ways to fight disease. Again, there is NO NEED to destroy embryos because of scientific advancements that have been developed. You people are arguing like it is eight years ago; a lot changes, people.

    March 9, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  12. Kevin ST Pete, FL

    Thank you, Nancy Reagan.

    March 9, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  13. Darrel from Denver

    Typical and predictable Republican response. They support scientific research, so long as it is military in nature or supports creationism.

    March 9, 2009 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  14. John

    pzucco March 9th, 2009 5:03 pm ET

    NO, If i had a family member with a disease. No i would not want them to find that cure from a embreyo. The religuous will always be here. Just wait and see. no fairy tales. it is all starting to come together. thanks for hating us.

    Then just look them in the eye and say "NO" my opinion outweighs your reality. And by the way it's not hate it's pity.

    March 9, 2009 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  15. Don in Albuquerque

    Bet these idiots would change their minds (if they collectively have ) ONE) if they had a dying three year old in a wheel chair. Fools, ingrates, and destroyers of humanity everywhere.

    March 9, 2009 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  16. Kevin in Ohio

    Wow...... no respect all for human life or dignity on the part of liberals., and no sense whatsoever of the point of view of others. I thought the liberals were "inclusive" and "good-hearted".

    My earlier comments regarding convicts are certainly something I don't support, It was an alogy, thats all.

    SPENNDING TAX DOLLARS on something that is objectionable and offensive is the problem here. And embryonic stem cell research cannot happen without aborted children. I have no problem with embryonic stem cell research or adult stem cell research....it is just not something that we should be using tax dollars for!

    March 9, 2009 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  17. rena

    @Ben Dover

    I would like to support Erika in this point. First of all they are not a fetus they are frozen embryos that are thrown in the trash, which means they are dead already if that's how you want to look at it. Secondly, we may be in a draft any longer, but by voluntarily, but our soldiers didn't have choice as to giving theirs lives up for a made-up war or should I say a lie. Can you explain that to the many families who have lost a love one behind a lying President and his staff who made up a facticious war?

    March 9, 2009 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  18. Ellie

    Wow.... typical Republican theatrics. We could all set our clocks by this "broken record" constantly being played out in front of the cameras.

    These fools continue to talk a GOOD GAME, until its their wife, mother, son or daughter that could be SAVED by stem cell research.

    Hypocrisy at its very best, coming from a group of GOP clowns!!!

    March 9, 2009 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  19. Josh

    All you crazies on the left and right, this is a legitimate ethical debate. When life begins is an important question, and those who just presume that 'science' proscribes no ethical boundaries are dead wrong. Research ethics are important–animal testing, voluntary human testing of potentially dangerous substances, and whether to destroy embryos are all 'scientific' areas that should be thoughtfully considered. You people who act as though trying to find an ethical boundary hinders science are dead right; science should be hindered when its means are reprehensible. The Nazis did experiments on people–the fact that it was 'scientific inquiry' doesn't change the fact that it was immoral. Shouldn't a society's ethical framework be imposed on the scientific community? The means don't always justify the ends.

    This is a debate that's worth having civilly, and most of you here are doing a great disservice to the issues involved by drawing rigid lines in the sand and villifying the other side.

    March 9, 2009 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  20. Nevada dude

    Thank Goodness! maybe with the science coming out of this we can save ourselves from the illnesses we will suffer as a result of the GMO's entering the food chain. large-scale farming has already depleted the nutritional value of our fruits and vegetables.

    March 9, 2009 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  21. American

    These Republicans have been the ones trying to turn back the clock. Who are they kidding? The GOP has very little credibility and losing more every day. Thankfully, our country is moving forward with intelligent efforts from President Obama.

    March 9, 2009 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  22. cnnnewser

    Does anyone expect anything different from republicans?
    Anyone??
    Of course not.
    We all know the major purpose of the republican party is to make sure President Obama fails.

    March 9, 2009 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  23. Nikole

    @ Josh-The embryos we speak of already exist and will be destroyed anyway b/c they are leftovers from invetro fertilization. It just doesn't make sense that destroying them should not yield some benefit when it is possible to use them for research.

    March 9, 2009 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  24. Brian in VA

    To all of you who are against this, realize that the EMBRYOS IN QUESTION WERE GOING TO BE DESTROYED ANYWAY!!!!! Get your facts straight before you start arguing. At least now they are not being wasted.

    March 9, 2009 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  25. sherrie1690

    I applaud President Obama's action on stem cell research. I believe the Republicans have "turned the clock back" about 50 – 100 years! I am a retired R.N. and have cared for people with spine injuries - If I could bring myself to wish that on anyone, it would have to be those who wish to allow so many others to suffer. I've also followed the research and there are other alternatives in the works that look promising for a number of medical disorders, but they not only won't work for as many problems as will stem cells, but they are also not expected to get to the point where they can help people for many, many years. Japan's already WAY AHEAD with stem cell research and will have it on the market and creating jobs soon, while the Republicans are still sitting on their collective "cracker barrels".

    March 9, 2009 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
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