President Bush has threatened to veto, as early as today, a bill said essentially to overturn his stem cell policy. The Senate also passed two other bills (both sponsored by Rick Santorum), one intended to prevent the use of embryos generated specifically for research and the other intended to encourage research into alternative sources of pluripotent stem cells.
The House passed two of the three bills, failing however to assemble the 2/3 majority necessary under the expedited suspension of rules calendar to pass the alternative sources bill.
The Democrats seem to think that this will be an issue in the fall elections, and that the alternative bill is simply political cover. Their hackneyed line will be: "Republicans are anti-science." While this is easier to understand than the more nuanced conservative position, discussed here and here, Im not convinced that it will produce the political advantage Democrats expect.
This piece makes an interesting point about House Democratic opposition to Santorum’s bill:
This latest attack on other ways to pursue stem-cell research reveals a new and more intolerant side to the ideology of the embryonic-stem-cell campaign. Now it is not enough to include embryo destruction in the category of acceptable biomedical research — one must wed oneself to embryo destruction, forsaking all other avenues. One must insist that stem-cell research must not move forward to advance knowledge or treat diseases unless it involves destroying human life. This is a dark and narrow vision of science that sets it directly at odds with morality and common sense. In the end, it is as anti-science as it is anti-life. Reps. Castle and DeGette may have won a temporary procedural victory in the stem-cell debate. But they have revealed a very dark and narrow side to the pro-embryo-research campaign that should not please patients wanting cures, concerned Americans wanting ethical restraint on science, or constituents seeking common sense on contentious issues.