The Senate has approved the Coleman-Isakson ethical stem cell alternatives bill by a margin of 70-28. It also passed a similar bill last year which later died in the House, where embryo research advocates preferred a political controversy to a common-ground way forward. Let’s hope they’ve changed their mind this year.
I can’t be certain I kept perfect track, but from my notes it looks like every Republican voted in favor of the bill, and the Democrats split. Senate conservatives have therefore kept the pro-embryo-research bill under a veto-override number, and have passed a bill championing ethically uncontroversial alternatives. A very tall order, not easily achieved given the makeup of the Senate now. The fact that it was achieved is a testament above all to Mitch McConnell’s leadership. His office had everything to do with the alternatives bill, and that, in turn, helped keep some of the fence-sitters on board on the bill overturning the Bush funding policy.
(I offered a bit of background here on the two bills taken up by the Senate tonight).