Votes of Our Congressional Reps on Federal Funding for Stem Cell Research

Here are the votes on HR-3, The Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act.

The only vote that was previously undeclared was Heath Shuler's "NO" vote. The total votes were 253 votes "Yea," and 174 votes "No," which is 37 votes short of what it will take to override Bush's promised veto.

District 01 Butterfield, G K (D) - Yea
District 02 Etheridge, Bob (D) - Yea
District 03 Jones, Walter B Jr (R) - No
District 04 Price, David (D) - Yea
District 05 Foxx, Virginia (R) - No
District 06 Coble, Howard (R) - Yea
District 07 McIntyre, Mike (D) - No
District 08 Hayes, Robin (R) - No
District 09 Myrick, Sue (R) - No
District 10 McHenry, Patrick (R) - No
District 11 Shuler, Heath (D) - No

District 12 Watt, Melvin L (D) - Yea
District 13 Miller, Brad (D) - Yea



any statement from the new congressman?

"Keep the Faith"


Allowing themselves to be used by extremist theocrats to stop medical science. They might as well vote against the practice of medicine. There have been cases of real people actually dying in drug trials you know. Drug trials should be illegal.

I thought Heath Shuler had more sense than to allow himself be used as a pawn.

PS Is it wrong for me to hope that a middle-aged Patty McHenry contracts some horrible disease when he's out with the boys and there's no cure available because the research wasn't allowed?

This seems way too harsh

Let's face it -- as much as we loved to cheer him on here, Heath Shuler campaigned as a pro-life Democrat, and he was on the record during that campaign as skeptical of expanding the use of embryonic stem cells for research purposes. The leadership in the House clearly understood this from the beginning (from the N&O):

U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield, chief deputy whip for the Democrats, said this week that the party would be more lenient on this issue than others in its 100-hour agenda.

"Some of our members are struggling with it, not necessarily for political reasons, but from their conscience," said Butterfield, of Wilson. "We're not going to whip on this vote with a heavy hand."

[Shuler spokesman] Whalen said that as far as he knew, Shuler had not received any pressure about the vote.

"He's not voting with the Democrats," he said. "He's voting his conscience."

There's a reason the Democrats didn't whip this vote hard: they know that they can't cobble together a veto-proof majority in the House. So why pressure a freshman Democrat to vote against his conscience? And possibly (though I've seen no polling on it) against the wishes of his constituents?

I understand that this is an emotional issue, but your statement that Representative Shuler was being "used by extremist theocrats to stop medical science" seems way too harsh. Is it impossible that Heath did as the deputy whip said -- that he actually voted his conscience?

You may disagree with Shuler's choice here; I certainly do. But he certainly has "more sense than to allow himself to be used as a pawn" The Dems got their win today -- that is, as much of a victory as they're likely to get on this issue while President Bush is in office. Let's be happy about that and not flog Heath Shuler for voting in accordance with his values.

im not mad

At him. But I fail to understand that viewpoint. I dont see anything wrong with using fetuses that have no chance of being born. Its not like they are aborting babies just for research, although Bush would like us to believe that they are.

Also, I am not mad because we won, and because the leadership is smart enough to count votes and know not to put pressure on people when its not needed.

"Keep the Faith"

not even fetuses

but embryos that have never been implanted in a womb, and that will be simply thrown away if not used for medical research. That's what I don't get. Refusing to fund stem cell research is not going to allow any of those embryos to develop into a fetus, much less a baby. If it's so wrong to destroy the unused embryos, then why don't we outlaw the fertility programs that create them?


Im not fully awake right now. Thanks for saying what I wanted to say.

"Keep the Faith"

To be even more precise

we're talking about a group of less than 100 cells smaller than the period at the end of this sentence frozen in a petri dish.

I think the correct term for this group of cells is Blastocyst.

Larry Kissell is MY Congressman


if life begins at conception then 100 cells is still life.

"Keep the Faith"


You are talking about something in the range of 8 to 16 cells which will never be viable without successful implantation.

I'm saying

the "values" reflected in this vote don't make any sense. The right-to-lifers have masterfully conflated stem cells with abortion - and held their cadre of politicians to the corresponding litmus test.

Stem cells have nothing to do with abortion. And people who believe it does bear a strong resemblance to those who believe the world was created 6000 years ago. It is nonsense of the first order.

The so called "pro-lifers" are drawing the line at stem cells not because of anything "real" but because it serves their grand political strategy. By buying into the conflation I describe, Mr. Shuler is indeed a useful tool.

He disagrees of course, as do you, but that's how I see it.

It's absurd to say that the Dems got a "win today."

It's absurd to say that they didn't

House Democrats passed a hugely popular bill that the President has said he will veto. It is a veto that Bush-enablers all over the country will continue to pay for into the 2008 elections. Since we know that the bill won't become law with this president, House Democrats got "as much of a victory as they're likely to get on this issue while President Bush is in office." The Dems didn't get a substantive policy victory because such a victory is impossible on this issue right now. The Dems got a political victory, which is the best they can do right now.

I agree with you that, because these are balls of cells that will be discarded anyway, a vote against this bill is a vote to continue to discard them without extracting the potentially-valuable stem cells. But for principled opponents of this research, there is a difference between a lab discarding these embryos on the one hand and the federal government funding the destruction of these embryos for scientific purposes on the other. You and I may not agree, but that's the principle involved. You don't have to respect the view as logical or reasonable to understand that it is genuine and deeply-held. To ascribe holding such a view and acting upon it as being used as a tool is needlessly condescending.

So, if, as the far right claims, these balls of cells are

"a life", then they support wasting a life instead of encouraging that little blastocyst to be the best it can be.

I really haven't had enough to drink this morning. (Coffee)

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

I appreciate your point of view

even though I don't agree with it. To me a "win" is public policy that serves the public good. This vote will surely be used in the way you describe, but it will have no policy impact whatsoever. It is a political win, and nothing else.

And as to beliefs that are "genuine and deeply held," that's a pretty weak standard in my book. Theocrats who say the world was created 6000 years ago have "genuine and deeply held" beliefs that, in my opinion, deserve no respect.

More to the point, I would argue that my condescension is not needless. It underscores how otherwise thoughtful people have been co-opted into irrational, contradictory positions on the issues of stem cells. They allow themselves to be used in ways that subvert science and intentionally confuse the public. If there ever was a place where condescension was needed, this would qualify.

Probably, that Karma thing...

then again, there's that Karma thing

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Forgot to give kudos

to Ed Cone for digging this up.

My Contribution to Rep. Shuler's Blog

Rep. Shuler I do not agree with the vote you cast to deny federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.

I understand the theological argument about how a soul is created when a sperm marries with an egg. However, I've never understood how a religious fundamentalist extracts that definition of a human being from the Bible. I've never found it there.

To me, it seems only the fearful mistrust of human reason can lead to the abrogation of responsibility it takes to assign that definition of human life to the Lord Almighty.

With embryonic stem cells we are talking about something less than an embryo: a blastocist 15 millimeters in size, or approximately the size of a fingernail. This is a bit of living tissue without a brain or a heartbeat that carries the same genetic information as a fingernail - no more, no less. Like a fingernail it will never become more than what it is, and inevitably it will be discarded, of no use to anyone.

The one ennobling use that a blastocist does have, is as a source of stem cells that could lead to scientific breakthroughs curing scores of diseases. Balanced against all that good you've chosen religious prejudice and a fear of reason. You have chosen to severely limit all the good that would come to people who are sick, who suffer, and who might be cured.

Then, in a crowning act of disingenuousness, you off load responsibility for your vote on Dr. Anthony Atala and his progress with amniotic stem cell research; the very same scientist who wrote a letter to you specifying that his research was not an adequate substitute for embryonic stem cells.

I believe that all of us will one day face the judgment of a good and loving God. We are assured in Matthew chapter 25 that God's expectations of us will be profound, but also simple. In verse 36, a few of those expectations are summarized, "I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me."

Rep. Shuler, how does your vote of yesterday square with those expectations?

I'm 56 years old. I moved to North Carolina five years ago. The previous twenty-five years I spent as a resident of Chicago's north shore and before that Wisconsin, Utah and California. I live in Moore County. My Congressman is Howard Coble, my State Sen


You go, George. I applaud your well-written letter. Perhaps Representative Shuler will take the time to read it, because it might cause him to rethink his position.

Thank you.

Is it cowardice?

How much cover does a Congressman need to vote for stem cell research?

The bill (1)authorized funding of research with stem cells only from embryos at IVF clinics that were destined for destruction anyway, (2) restricted it to only those facilities where the legal authority certified that the embryos were destined for destruction, and (3) required the release of the couple whose embryos they were and certification that those embryos were not being kept for future implantation.

So if the question of conscience is operative here, how is it not operative for IVF in general? Maybe if it wasn't called by the buzzword "stem cell research" it would have passed. But the right invented that semantic tactic and would be looking for it.

Or maybe is was the clever timing of the announcement that stem cells from amniotic fluid would work as well.

50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

Tomorrow's Bill: Drug Prices

I wonder how many of NC's GOPers will vote against tomorrow's bill: Allow Negotiation for Lower Prescription Drug Costs. My guess is the same 4 nutjobs that voted against raising the minimum wage.

I strongly disagree with Heath on his stem cell vote, but we know how Taylor would have voted. At least with Heath, he'll vote the right way most of the time.

I'd agree with that.

Coble voted for Medicare Part Duh, and never responded to letters I wrote asking him for an explanation.
From my own earlier blog:

Howard Coble voted against allowing the re-importation of drugs from Canada – a measure that would have saved Americans on fixed incomes hundreds of dollars - even though the drugs were US made and patient safety was ensured.

Howard Coble voted for the disastrous Medicare Prescription Plan. (You know, the one that is such a failure, they graded themselves and gave it a “D”.) One of the hidden features of this plan is that it prevents negotiation with the drug companies. Imagine! The biggest insurance group in the world, and they can’t negotiate a better price. Also, this is the plan with the infamous “donut hole” – the gap that leaves millions of seniors on fixed incomes without coverage. My own mother was without coverage for nearly 6 months this year. Of course, she still had to pay the insurance premiums.

Pharmaceutical Companies and other big drug interests have donated $250,736 to Howard Coble over his career.

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi

What was it Patrick McHenry said about Heath?

"He is in an extreme minority within the Democratic caucus, and he'll be facing enormous pressure to vote the party line," says Rep. Patrick McHenry, a Cherryville Republican from the neighboring 10th District. "If he votes the Pelosi liberal line, he'll be a one-term wonder."(from the Charlotte Observer's article)

Ah, yes, the Pelosi liberal line...

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

I say again

get on over to Heath's blog and let him know what you think. My comment from last night has already been moderated and posted.

I liked this quote from dKos


"Remember, these blastocysts come from fertility clinics. Many thousands are discarded each year. Blaming ESCR for destroying them makes less sense than blaming a kid who uses scrap wood for killing trees clear-cutting a forest.

Let's recap the utter absurdity of remaining conservative opposition to Embryonic Stem Cell Research. You're holding a cryogenic container with a blastocyst inside. It's a ball of cells (HT: PoliticAl2008) roughly the size of the period at the end of this sentence. You have a choice of putting it in an incinerator or placing it in a petri dish and using it for research. George Bush and his shrinking base somehow reason, using unknown, convoluted pseudo-logic, that destruction by fire is saving it while the petri dish represents destroying it."

I posted this over at Heath's blog too. It's not that I disagree with his position, it's that his position doesn't make any logical sense at all. If it's supposed to be a moral vote, then the morality is based on some sort of extraterrestrial logic I'm unfamiliar with.

Scrutiny Hooligans -