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Earlier this year, it seemed Congresswoman Diana DeGette was certain to see the passage of her bill to allow embryonic stem cell research. There was a drive on the Senate side to legalize funding for the controversial studies, thought to have potential for finding cures to a long list of maladies, from muscular dystrophy to liver failure. But following November’s Democratic losses in the midterm elections, DeGette, a Denver Democrat, was still having to urge action on the bill, as the clock on a lame duck House began to tick down, writes The Durango Herald. Now, it seems the legislation, which DeGette has fought hard to pass for years, might not make it to the White House.
“I’m continuing to push,” she tells The Denver Post. “If it doesn’t pass in the next couple weeks, we’ll reintroduce it immediately in the new Congress. I’m nothing if not persistent.” But next year’s political climate will likely be more difficult than the current one. Incoming U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, an Ohio Republican, opposes federal funds for the research, and Arlen Specter, a Pennsylvania Democrat who supported the legislation in the Senate, is leaving office after the current session. If DeGette attempts to push the bill through in the final hours of the lame duck session, she will “face significant opposition,” says Congressman Doug Lamborn, a Colorado Springs Republican.
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And Democrats shouldn’t take such threats lightly, as evidenced by the recent death of the DREAM Act, which was sponsored in the Senate by Colorado’s Michael Bennet. “Please don’t give up. Don’t be disappointed because we couldn’t get our act together,” he tells the immigrant youth the bill targeted (via The New York Times, user account required).