Pro-taxpayer funded embryonic stem cell research supporter Sen. Tom Harkin held a stacked (only 1 opponent allowed) pro-escr hearing today and said this, according to Bloomberg:

Congress will intervene if a U.S. court rules that federal funding for research using human embryonic stem cells is illegal, Senator Tom Harkin said….

Harkin, an Iowa Democrat and lead author of legislation to authorize federal dollars for the research, said he will take steps to work around any court setback for the policy established by President Barack Obama in March 2009.

Yes, that is indeed what Harkin said. Start listening at minute 23 on this video from today’s hearing.

This is good, meaning it appears unlikely legislation will be introduced in the Senate to force taxpayer funded escr until the court has made its decision whether Obama’s executive order is legal under current law.

One of our side’s talking points to congresspersons, which I’m told has resonated, is to let the court finish its work before they act, particularly since a decision on the Administration’s request for a stay could come as early as next week. The entire court case is expected to be decided this fall.

Our goal at this point is to get the autumn congressional clock to run out before the pro-escr legislation can be introduced.

Here, tentatively, are the remaining days the US House and Senate will be in session before recessing to campaign for the November elections. In other words, these are how many days we have to fend off this legislation:

September 16
September 21-24 (3-1/2 days)
September 28-30 and October 1 (3-1/2 days)
October 4-8 (4-1/2 days – as of now. News reports indicate Congress may scratch this week)

Don’t be discouraged by headlines like this, but don’t blow them off either:

In actuality, word is there is a debate raging among Democrats on the House side whether to introduce Diana DeGette’s pro-escr legislation. Read the 2nd paragraph of the aforementioned article and you’ll see the headline is merely DeGette’s wishful thinking, her continued bluff:

Rep. Diana DeGette of Denver said Democratic leaders in the House are looking favorably on the idea of moving a bill quickly to the floor in time for a vote before Congress recesses Oct. 8….

“The fact that people are running against these hard-right Tea Party candidates really will help them because the vast majority of Americans are for stem-cell research,” said DeGette, a longtime champion of the research….

DeGette is talking out of her butt, ‘scuse me.  In actuality voter concern for fiscal responsibility has resulted in a stunning reversal in support for taxpayer-funded escr over the past 18 months. Now 57% of voters oppose it.

Your senator and congressperson need to hear from you. Refer to this 2010 ESCR Whip List for Rs and Ds to make your calls. The yellow highlighted names are the people to target 1st. The Democrat highlighted names are listed on the Cook Report as vulnerable.

One other point in our favor. DeGette’s legislation in the House, and Specter’s companion legislation in the Senate, are comprehensive. They allow funding for clone and kill and even for the creation of chimeras (animal/human combinations). They only ban implanting clones in uteruses.  Even pro-escr legislators in the past have opposed this sort of all-encompassing legislation, as the linked Whip List indicates. (Asterisked names previously opposed this fairly identical legislation, what we call the “Phony Cloning Ban.”)

Needless to say, it appears likely the next session of Congress will be less amenable to this legislation, which DeGette knows, which is why she’s in a hurry.

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