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Pelosi: With Stem Cell Legislation, We Have the Opportunity to Save Lives, Find Cures, and Give Hope

Washington, D.C. - Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke this afternoon on the House floor in favor of S. 5, the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007.  The bill passed the House with a strong bipartisan vote of 247 to 176, and will be sent to the President for his signature. 

Below are the Speaker's remarks:

'Thank you, Mr. Speaker.  I thank the gentlelady from Colorado for yielding time and her exceptional leadership.  Every family in America who has concern about the health and well-being of moms, and dads, and grandparents, and children, brothers and sisters owe a deep depth of gratitude to Diana DeGette.  With her stewardship of this bill, she has given us an opportunity to give hope to these many families across our country. 

'Every one of those families, every one of us, is one telephone call, one diagnosis away, from needing the benefits of embryonic stem cell research.

'I can't help but think that even those who are against this legislation today would want their family members, their child with diabetes, their husband with Parkinson's, their father with Alzheimer's, their mother with breast cancer, to have the benefit of stem cell research. 

'Science is a gift of God to all of us and science has taken us to a place that is biblical in its power to cure and that is the embryonic stem cell research. 

'Congresswoman DeGette not only worked on this legislation on its substance, she was generous with her personal experience to demonstrate the need for the bill.  She understood that this legislation had to be bipartisan, and I commend Congressman Mike Castle of Delaware for his exceptional and courageous leadership on this legislation as well.

'Today we continue a debate we have held before.  In fact, bipartisan majorities in both houses of Congress have passed similar legislation before.

'Yet, with his cruel veto pen, President Bush dashed the hopes of many for the healing potential of stem cell research.  Today, we along with millions of Americans, are hoping for a different outcome. 

'Mr. Speaker, this week I am observing 20 years in the Congress of the United States.  I'm proud of that, but I mention it here because this is one of the most glorious days, in the top five, I'm sure, that I have experienced here.  With the introduction of this legislation again, with its passage, which I think will be clear and bipartisan, we are doing something that is relevant to the lives of the American people.  And we are doing something that gives people hope. 

'With this legislation, we have the opportunity to save lives, find cures, and again, give hope to those suffering.  It is an opportunity that neither we, nor the President, should miss. 

'This legislation would allow America's scientists to pursue the science they believe has the most promise to cure.  It would bring embryonic stem cell research under the strict controls and ethical guidelines of the National Institutes of Health.  That doesn't exist now.  Why would we reject that?  And it would help ensure our nation remains pre-eminent in science. 

'I'm so proud of my own state of California where we have taken action on the ballot to establish the research in our own state.  But it should be available to the entire country. 

'According to scientists, including many Nobel Laureates, embryonic stem cell research could unlock the doors to treatments and cures to cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's, Multiple Sclerosis, and many, many more diseases.  If we have a scientific opportunity to treat and cure disease, we have a moral responsibility to support it. 

'Through stem cell research, this bill has the potential to bring hope and health to millions.  I hope the President will sign it.

'It has support in Congress and the country.  Seventy-two percent of Americans support this bipartisan bill.  That is a remarkable number for a remarkable bill.  Our nation's scientists support this bill.  Our finest research institutes support this bill. And religious organizations support this bill.  In fact, many religious leaders endorsed this bill because of their respect for life, and their belief that science has the biblical power to cure. 

'As the Episcopal Church writes in their letter in support of this legislation, 'As stewards of creation, we are called to help mend and renew the world in many ways...Medical research expands our knowledge of God's creation and empowers us to bring potential healing to those who suffer...'

'Thank you Congresswoman DeGette and CongressmanCastle for giving us the opportunity to support that science and that moral responsibility.'