(Short Hills, NJ) – The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation (CDRF), the national, non-profit organization dedicated to finding cures and treatments for spinal cord injuries and improving the lives of people living with paralysis, today expressed strong disappointment in President Bush’s veto of the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act, which would have paved the way for advancements in stem cell research with the support and oversight of the federal government.
“Twice in less than one year, the President has dashed the dreams of millions of Americans living with paralysis and many other diseases and disabilities who see the potential in stem cell research and dream of a cure in their lifetime,” said Peter D. Kiernan, Chairman and CEO of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. “As the President of the United States, President Bush is entrusted to act upon the will of the American people he represents, but his repeated failure to sign this critical legislation into law shows his inability to prevent politics from standing in the way of hope.”
Last year, the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act was passed by the United States Senate, but on July 19, 2006, President Bush exercised his first veto by failing to sign the bill. The 110th Congress breathed new life into the bill by introducing the stem cell legislation early in their session. Again, the United States Senate and House of Representatives passed it by wide margins and strong bi-partisan support, and the President vetoed it.
“There aren’t many times in life when you are given the chance to right a wrong. Once again, the President has demonstrated his tin ear when it comes to listening to the clear majority of Americans. Failure to listen is not leadership…it is the politics of exclusion. Thankfully for the millions of Americans who are suffering, this President is only a temporary resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. We will not give up, not ever.
“Christopher and Dana Reeve passionately pursued the advancement of unfettered scientific research and some day soon, we hope to see their dreams become reality. The President’s executive order directing NIH to continue pursuing alternate forms of research is nothing new, since NIH has already been conducting this research for the past 20 years. Therefore, it remains vitally important that we continue the legislative fight to secure Federal funding of embryonic stem cell research that will provide greater opportunities for potential cures and treatments of countless diseases and disabilities,” Kiernan concluded.
The CDRF thanks the 247 members of the House of Representatives as well as the 63 Senators who listened to the voices of the American people and supported the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act. It is the organization’s hope that the scientists and laboratories can overcome this temporary setback.
The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation is dedicated to curing spinal cord injury by funding innovative research, and improving the quality of life for people living with paralysis through grants, information and advocacy. For more information, please visit our website at www.ChristopherReeve.org or call 800-225-0292.