Mikulski Urges Action on Stem Cell Research Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) today joined a group of her Democratic colleagues in sending a letter to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, M.D. (R-Tenn.) urging action on the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005 (H.R. 810). The bill, passed in the House of Representatives a year ago this week, has become stalled in the Senate and would offer renewed hope to millions of Americans suffering from diseases, including Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. The letter calls on Senator Frist to schedule a floor vote on the bill during the upcoming "Health Week."

"I believe 'honor thy mother and father' is not just a good commandment to live by, it is good public policy to govern by. We must commit ourselves, our dollars and our programs to fund research and find cures," said Senator Mikulski. "I will continue to keep fighting to make stem cell research a priority in Congress."

The text of the letter is below:

Dear Dr. Frist:

Nearly a year ago, the House of Representatives approved important legislation to end the restrictions that have kept stem cell research from fulfilling its potential to save lives and alleviate suffering. We understand that you are planning a week of Senate debate on legislation related to health. We urge you to bring the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005 (H.R. 810) to the Senate floor for consideration during this "Health Week".

Stem cell research has vast potential for curing diseases and saving lives. We know you recognize the enormous potential of this research for discovering new cures and therapies for diseases such as diabetes, Parkinson's disease and spinal cord injuries, and we commend the strong support you have expressed for approval of the House-passed bill. By allowing H.R. 810 to be brought to a vote, you can bring hope and help to millions of American patients and families suffering from these and other serious illnesses.

The House passed H.R. 810 in May 2005 - yet the Senate has failed to take action for nearly a year. Further delay will mean more lost opportunities for new cures and new treatments. The Senate should not mark the anniversary of the House vote with action not more inaction. We therefore urge you to bring H.R. 810 to the Senate floor for debate and a vote during "Health Week". Millions of patients and their families across the nation cannot afford to wait any longer for enactment of this urgently needed legislation.

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