Political winds are shifting left, and as George W. Bush prepares to leave the White House, Democrats are debating what to do about the restrictions he imposed on federal spending for embryonic stem-cell research. That’s according to The New York Times, which reports that either Congress or President-elect Barack Obama could intervene, marking a divisive start to 2009 but providing hope to those who could benefit medically from a relaxing of the rule.

U.S. Representative Diana DeGette, a Democrat who represents Colorado’s First Congressional District, which includes Denver, is the author of the stem-cell measure, twice vetoed by Bush. She says Obama should act to allow research as Congress drafts a longer-term vision that deals with both financial and ethical issues.

In a recent opinion piece for The Denver Post, she wrote that the current ban on federal funding is an arbitrary limit.