Richardson: Bush Turns His Back on Millions with Veto of Stem Cell Bill

SANTA FE, NM -- Governor Bill Richardson today issued the following statement regarding President Bush's veto of legislation to lift the ban on federal funding for stem cell research:

"With one pen stroke, President Bush has ignored hard science, embraced misplaced ideology and turned his back on the millions who stand to benefit from the advances that stem cell research holds.

"Countless Americans continue to suffer from debilitating diseases while our country's brightest scientists are denied critical funding needed to search for cures and treatments.

"Congress must continue to fight this battle, exploring every option at its disposal to lift this arbitrary ban and give hope for a brighter future for those living with Parkinson's, ALS, cancer, spinal cord injuries and other debilitating ailments.

"The President's veto is not the last word on advancing stem cell research. There is too much at stake for Democrats to back down. We must press forward because that's what a majority of Americans want.

"And if the President continues to ignore the will of the people, I promise, once elected to the White House, I will lift this ban, giving our scientists the funding they need and restoring hope to millions."

Richardson has a strong track record of working to advance important medical research. Last year, Richardson announced a major $10-million investment plan in stem cell research for New Mexico, which included:

$2 million to establish a nationally-recognized training program in Stem Cell Research for medical students, graduate students, residents, fellows, physicians and scientists.

$4 million to recruit nationally recognized scientists. Funding is needed to support the initial recruitment costs plus provide start-up funds to buy necessary equipment and supplies, and to train and develop staff.

$4 million in capital to establish state-of-the-art research facilities for Adult and Embryonic Stem Cell Research. Federal guidelines currently prohibit work with embryonic stem cells in space that has been constructed with federal funds. This capital outlay will be used to build a state-funded area devoted to embryonic stem cell research.