Barack Obama has flip-flopped on yet another campaign promise, according to Politico. The President-Elect campaigned against the Bush executive order barring federal funding for research on embryonic stem cells and said he would reverse it once elected. Now he has backed away from that pledge and is pulling a CYA — shifting the burden to Congress to change the policy.
In August 2001,George Bush stopped the NIH from funding embryonic stem cell research but allowed research to continue on several dozen cell lines already in existence .
Politico quotes a recent CNN interview where Obama said the following:
Well, if we can do something legislative then I usually prefer a legislative process because those are the people’s representatives. And I think that on embryonic stem cell research, the fact that you have a bipartisan support around that issue, the fact that you have Republicans like Orrin Hatch who are fierce opponents of abortion and yet recognize that there is a moral and ethical mechanism to ensure that people with Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s can actually find potentially some hope out there, you know, I think that sends a powerful message…So we’re still examining what things we’ll do through executive order…But I like the idea of the American people’s representatives expressing their views on an issue like this.
I’m very disappointed but not surprised by Obama’s latest remarks. The pace of discovery of future cures for the most devastating diseases relies on policy change and investment in research. Hopefully Obama will reconsider and restore the faith in all of us.
President-elect Obama recently announced his top scientific advisors which include Harold Varmus and Eric Lander. "It's time we once again put science at the top of our agenda and work to restore America's place as the world leader in science and technology," he said on his weekly radio address.
“Whether it’s the science to slow global warming; the technology to protect our troops and confront bioterror and weapons of mass destruction; the research to find life-saving cures; or the innovations to remake our industries and create 21st century jobs — today more than ever, science holds the key to our survival as a planet and our security and prosperity as a nation.”
Let's see what happens — we need a science advocate in the White House now more than ever.
Today, Eli Broad made a $25 million gift to fund UCSF's
stem cell program. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger addressed the audience of distinguished guests. The Governor said that Broad's donation should offer hope to the "millions of people who suffer from
spinal cord injuries, diabetes, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, multiple
sclerosis and many other illnesses." The funding is the largest single private donation to the university's
stem cell program and is a major source of funding for the $123
million Institute for Regeneration Medicine building which will open in 2010. Read the press release here.