CONGRESSIONAL OUTLOOK 2003
Big national issues are likely to keep Congress from doing much for science and technology
LOIS R. EMBER, DAVID J. HANSON, BETTE HILEMAN, CHERYL HOGUE, JEFF JOHNSON, AND WILLIAM G. SCHULZ, C&EN WASHINGTON
This new congress faces some daunting tasks right off the mark. Budget matters are the highest priority, as members scramble to finish up this year's budget before they are required to consider fiscal 2004. And they will have to deal with President George W. Bush's economic plan, spending on the possible war with Iraq, and already large, looming deficits.
The second major task is the organizing, overseeing, and funding of the Department of Homeland Security. How the many congressional committees with pieces of this new entity will cooperate on getting the department up and running is still unknown.
||PHOTOS BY PETER CUTTS
When Congress gets around to science and technology issues, it is going to debate action on global climate change, prescription drug relief for senior citizens, and the banning of all human cloning procedures. Research budgets are not going to be a priority.
Still, the 108th Congress has a full plate of issues important to the scientific community. The following is C&EN's annual preview of the issues that will be occupying the government in the months ahead.
ECONOMY & BUDGET. One of the very first things the new Congress will have to deal with is a budget for this year. Only two of the 13 annual appropriations bills were passed for fiscal 2003, leaving most of the government operating on the same amount of funds as it had the year before. This has left agencies that were supposed to start new programs with no funds for them and with tighter budgets for existing programs.
The budget will be passed with an omnibus spending bill that will include all the remaining department funds. Some reductions are expected because the Senate agreed to cut about $9 billion from its proposed spending to meet the President's demand for a $750.5 billion cap on discretionary spending. The result is that research agencies, including the National Institutes of Health, could receive much less than proposed for 2003.
Also expected to be passed in the omnibus bill is the repeal of three controversial provisions included in the law creating the Department of Homeland Security. Language eliminating provisions that protected makers of vaccines and vaccine additives from lawsuits, that provided funding for a research center at Texas A&M University, and that allowed awarding of federal contracts to companies that have created foreign tax havens will be inserted in the bill at the behest of several senators.
For fiscal 2004, the balky economy and Bush's economic stimulus package could combine to hold federal discretionary spending, and particularly R&D funding, to the same level as this year.
While the President's economic plan may hold little stimulus for industry, the matter will occupy a great deal of time in Congress. Although most Republicans have given early support for the $674 billion, 10-year proposal, quick approval of the package is unlikely. In addition, Democrats already have proposed their own, less costly stimulus plan.
The major portion of the President's plan, and the most controversial, would exclude corporate dividends from being taxed. Business organizations, including the American Chemistry Council (ACC), have generally applauded this move, saying that it will encourage increased investment in the economy. But the impact of large tax cuts on agency funding is likely to be considerable.
As one example, the President signed into law a bill that seeks to double research spending by the National Science Foundation over the next five years. Although this authorization measure does not obligate Congress to appropriate the money, it does indicate that Congress is serious about increasing R&D spending. However, with the budget restrictions expected on discretionary funds, NSF's budget will be lucky to keep the 7% increase that the House approved last session.
Even harder times could befall less high profile R&D programs. Department of Agriculture R&D programs, which could get a reduction in last year's budget to less than $2.4 billion, have always been a congressional target for budget cuts. At Commerce, the funding for the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration's R&D, cut last year, faces even further reductions to near $3 billion, a cut of maybe 10%. Research budgets at the Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency, National Aeronautics & Space Administration, and the laboratory programs at the National Institute of Standards & Technology--all of which barely held their own in the current budget cycle--will be very lucky to survive without cuts in the next year.
Congress will debate action on global climate change, prescription drug relief for seniors, and the banning of all human cloning procedures.
HOMELAND AND NATIONAL SECURITY. When President Bush proposed legislation to create the Department of Homeland Security last June, he pointed out that more than 100 entities of the federal government have some responsibility for homeland security. What he didn't mention at that time was that 88 different committees and subcommittees in Congress have some jurisdiction over the issue.
How Congress organizes to meet the challenge of constructive oversight of the new department is among the top priorities of the new Congress--one that will be revisited repeatedly over the next several years as it monitors the department's performance and money-spending habits. And, if early actions are any indication, the two houses are likely to take decidedly different tacks.
The House, following its pattern of the previous year, elected to reconstitute a Select Homeland Security Committee. The select committee, the forerunner of an eventual full-standing committee in the 109th Congress, will have primary oversight for the new department. It will coordinate the activities of the other House committees with some jurisdiction over the department.
House leaders chose Christopher Cox (R-Calif.) to chair the select committee. Rep. Cox says he would like to become the point man on Capitol Hill for all things related to the new department. For a start, he says he will concentrate committee work on simplifying "the oversight burden." Other members of the select committee will be drawn from the chairmen and ranking minority members of existing committees having some homeland security responsibilities.
Although House leadership has decided to concentrate oversight in one committee, it has yet to decide whether a new House appropriations subcommittee for homeland security should be formed, or whether an existing appropriations subcommittee should be given jurisdiction over the new department's spending bills. This may not be decided on, says Charles D. Frohman, Cato Institute's associate director of government affairs, until the appropriations committees get through fiscal 2003 spending bills.
On the other side of the Capitol, Senate leadership decided to give the Governmental Affairs Committee broad oversight of the new department. Susan M. Collins (R-Maine) will chair the committee. Sen. Collins wants to hold hearings on Tom Ridge's nomination to be the first secretary of the Department of Homeland Security as soon as the Senate passes its organizing resolution that allows Republicans to assume control of committees. At press time, this resolution had not yet been passed. Collins' committee will also hold hearings on Gordon R. England's nomination to be deputy secretary of the department.
Collins will have to share jurisdiction, at least for the foreseeable future, with other committees that traditionally have had overview of the agencies that have been transferred to the new department. As one Congress watcher tells C&EN, "All components of the Homeland Security Department will report to their old authorization and appropriations committees," at least initially.
Homeland security experts worry that the scattered jurisdiction will adversely affect Congress' ability to guide homeland security policy as a whole. And they worry that committees will focus on their own pet projects instead of paying attention to fiscal responsibility or civil liberties at the new department.
How new Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) eventually shapes the Senate to respond to the new security paradigm will be interesting to observe, this Congress watcher says. Frist long has shown interest in developing viable responses to the threat of bioterrorism, and he has a sharp appreciation for the role frontline responders will play at the state and local levels.
Another senator to watch is the just-elected Georgia Republican Saxby Chambliss. As a member of the House, Chambliss was charged with developing new organizational structures to streamline congressional oversight of the new department. As a very junior senator, he might not have much of a voice, but then again, he might be listened to because of his previous House experience.
As Charles V. Peña, Cato Institute's senior defense policy analyst, points out, "This will be the first Congress to look at an actual budget for the new department, and right now we don't know what the Administration will ultimately request" for fiscal 2004. For now, the combined budgets of the agencies that have been transferred to the domestic security department amount to about $37.5 billion. But the new department can't spend these funds until the appropriating committees reach agreement on fiscal 2003 spending.
"The agenda on Capitol Hill is still taking shape and may not become hard and fast for quite some time," says Amy Smithson, senior associate at the Henry L. Stimson Center. So many factors leave "many things up in the air," she says, citing "the new majority leader in the Senate, the Department of Homeland Security just coming into being, and the possibility of war with Iraq."
Peña believes that Congress will likely appropriate emergency funds to support a war against Iraq. And then, he says, it will have to juggle the fiscal 2004 budget to pay for the war and domestic spending needs.
Rep. Christopher Shays (R-Conn.) retained chairmanship of the Government Reform Committee's subcommittee on national security, although he was passed over for the chairmanship of the full committee. His subcommittee will look at the military's preparedness to fight in a chemical/biological weapons environment--a perennial issue that never seems to be fully addressed, says a knowledgeable source who asks not to be identified.
The problem is not the viability of the protective gear but whether there are enough protective suits in the places they will be needed, and whether all defective suits and monitoring equipment have been found and discarded. The source says the subcommittee will also investigate whether the military is receiving proper training with the protective suits and detection devices.
If the Select Committee on Homeland Security doesn't take up the organization of the new department, Shays's committee will, the source says. Especially of interest to Shays is the plan for integrating all the agencies being transferred to the new entity and the timetable for accomplishing that integration.
Another interest of Shays's is "the role and mission for homeland security" of the Defense Department's new organization, the Northern Command, or NorthCom, whose area of concern is North America. To be examined is the Posse Comitatus Act, which, in general terms, limits the use of the military for civilian law enforcement.
On the Senate side, Sen. Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.), chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, is expected to keep a close watch over nonproliferation issues, complementing and, sometimes, acting as a counterweight to Bush Administration actions in this arena, a Congress watcher says. A Lugar aide says the senator will hold early hearings on a post-Saddam Hussein Iraq and on the war on terrorism, including Afghanistan and its reconstruction.
Sen. Lugar is also expected to monitor Nunn-Lugar programs related to weapons of mass destruction (WMD). His committee will explore "how these programs can be applied more globally," Lugar's aide says. The committee will also monitor who has WMD, how these weapons are being accounted for, and what is being done to destroy them.
ENVIRONMENT. One of the biggest influences on the environmental legislative agenda during the 108th Congress--at least in the Senate--may be a lawmaker from Oklahoma.
Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.) has assumed the helm of the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee. Inhofe's ascension to this position marks a philosophical change for the panel. In recent years, New Englanders chaired that panel--James M. Jeffords (I-Vt.) and, before him, former Sen. Bob Smith (R-N.H.). To varying degrees, Jeffords and Smith pushed for tighter pollution controls and enjoyed support from some environmental groups. In contrast, Inhofe is concerned about the impact of environmental laws on business, and environmental activists view him as a foe to ecological protections.
Inhofe's legislative priorities for the committee, at least at first, are heavily on the public works side rather than on the environment, an aide tells C&EN. The Oklahoma senator's number one concern is to reauthorize a federal road-building law and ensure that his state--which pours more highway tax funds to the federal coffers than it gets back--receives a fairer share of this money. Frank O'Donnell, executive director of the Clean Air Trust, says environmental groups will carefully track the transportation bill that tops Inhofe's agenda to ensure it does not contain provisions that might allow a decrease in air quality.
Meanwhile, President Bush's top environmental priority is congressional passage of his Clear Skies Initiative to curb air pollutants from power plants, says James L. Connaughton, chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. This plan, released in February 2002, is designed to cut emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and mercury from fossil fuel power plants through phased emissions reductions starting in a decade and spread out until 2018 coupled with a cap-and-trade program (C&EN, March 11, 2002, page 33). Some senators, mostly Democrats, say the emission cuts should come faster and be steeper than Bush has proposed, and they oppose a trading system for mercury.
The Inhofe aide says that the senator is open to examination of a bill to implement the Clear Skies Initiative but that moving the legislation from the committee to the full Senate is not high on his list for 2003.
In the House, air-quality issues could be addressed either by passing legislation on the Clear Skies Initiative or through reauthorization of the Clean Air Act, says House staff member Samantha Jordan, deputy chief of staff for Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), chairman of the Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Energy & Air Quality.
Barton remains strongly committed to the President's proposal, Jordan says, and also may hold more hearings on air issues. However, she predicts the subcommittee is more likely to undertake a limited investigation of pluses and minuses in the current Clean Air Act than a comprehensive overhaul.
Meanwhile, congressional approval of two chemical-related treaties is among the legislative priorities for ACC, according to Mark D. Nelson, vice president for federal legislative issues. ACC wants Congress to act quickly on the 2001 Stockholm Convention, phasing out or reducing production of 12 persistent organic pollutants--including several pesticides, dioxins, and polychlorinated biphenyls--as well as the 1998 Rotterdam Convention, which requires countries to give their consent before accepting shipments of hazardous substances. The Bush Administration supports the two agreements. Before the U.S. becomes a partner in the two treaties, the Senate must ratify the pacts and Congress must amend two chemical control laws--the Toxic Substances Control Act and the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide & Rodenticide Act--to conform U.S. law to the accords.
Connaughton says another of Bush's environmental legislative priorities for 2003 is elevation of EPA to the President's Cabinet. He says Bush supports a bill (H.R. 37) introduced by House Science Committee Chairman Sherwood L. Boehlert (R-N.Y.) that would give EPA Cabinet status. Observers say the biggest concern over the legislation is the temptation for lawmakers to load the bill with provisions to make changes at the agency.
Superfund, the trust fund to clean up abandoned hazardous waste sites, is expected to run out of money in 2003. However, the 108th Congress is unlikely to reinstate the tax on chemical feedstocks and corporate income that fed Superfund's coffers until the levy expired in December 1995. The Bush Administration prefers to use general tax revenues for federal Superfund efforts rather than reinstate the taxes. Inhofe, like many Republicans, opposes reinstatement of the tax, a position shared by chemical companies.
Although legislation addressing global climate change is unlikely to be enacted this year, Congress will almost certainly spend a great deal of time debating it. On Jan. 8, Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.) announced a bill that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 2000 levels by 2010 and to 1990 levels by 2016 (C&EN, Jan. 13, page 5). On the same day, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation, chaired by McCain, held a hearing on the issue.
The bill, which was expected to be introduced a few days after the hearing, would set caps on greenhouse gas emissions from all sectors of the economy except agriculture and residences. It would establish a greenhouse gas emissions trading program similar to the acid rain program. If the bill is referred to the Commerce Committee, it may be approved and sent to the full Senate for a vote. But if the bill is referred to the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee, it will be dead on arrival because Inhofe strongly opposes taking action on climate change.
Similarly, Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) and Jeffords have introduced the proposed global climate security act (S. 17), which would reduce four air pollutants--sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, mercury, and carbon dioxide--and promote renewable energy.
Actions to address climate change are being spurred in part by local and state efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Fourteen states have now set renewable energy goals. New York state is the most recent example. On Jan. 8, Gov. George E. Pataki announced that he would direct that 25% of the state's electricity would come from renewable sources within a decade.
The balky economy and Bush's economic stimulus package could combine to hold R&D funding to the same level as this year.
ENERGY. As in the last congressional session, the House and Senate are likely to take different paths toward crafting a national energy bill. No law resulted from last year's perambulations. This time, the end result could be different, since both bodies are now in Republican hands.
Two years ago, the driving push for energy legislation came from the White House, particularly Vice President Dick Cheney, through his energy plan, speeches, and his perception that the U.S. faced an energy crisis. This pressure helped clear energy bills in both the House and the Senate in the last session, but both bills died before a joint conference committee in November.
Action this year, like last year, will begin in the House. In 2001, a comprehensive energy bill (H.R. 4) moved briskly through the House, passing in August (C&EN, Aug. 13, 2001, page 10).
Legislation similar to that bill is expected to be the vehicle for the House in the new Congress. H.R. 4 had a heavy tilt toward energy production and carried $33 billion in tax breaks and energy-supply incentives. It allowed oil exploration in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), mandated a small increase in vehicle fuel-efficiency standards, and held modest incentives to develop renewable energy resources.
House action is expected to start in late January or early February, Jordan says. Barton's committee is likely to lead in formulating energy legislation, Jordan adds, and Barton would like to see a bill that holds provisions for drilling in ANWR, addresses the use of fuel additives, and restructures the electricity industry. She stresses, however, that this early in the session, it is difficult to know what the bill will contain or what the schedule will be.
Still, House leaders have said they want to see comprehensive energy legislation on the House floor by April, and even last week members were beginning to offer bills.
In the first few days of the session, for instance, Reps. Boehlert and Ralph M. Hall (D-Texas) introduced an energy R&D bill with language identical to that before the House and Senate conferees last fall (H.R. 238). The bill would authorize more than $30 billion in energy science programs, they note.
The Senate is plotting a much slower path, says Marnie Funk, communications director for the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee.
That committee is now led by Sen. Pete V. Domenici (R-N.M.), who has a longtime interest in energy issues and is a strong advocate for nuclear power and the nuclear weapons labs in his state. Domenici plans a series of hearings, Funk says, and doesn't expect to begin marking up a bill until late spring or summer.
"He is committed to an orderly committee process," she says. "He doesn't want to first debate a bill of the import and magnitude of national energy policy on the Senate floor, which happened in the last Congress."
In the last Congress, after a series of energy hearings, Democratic Party leadership pulled the bill from committee, penned an energy bill, and took it directly to the Senate.
Domenici hopes to build a better foundation of support, Funk says. "Obviously, with a one-vote majority we need to go slowly, build consensus, and find a middle ground. Domenici is a skilled lawmaker with a history of doing this." She also says Domenici is no fan of mammoth bills and might split energy issues into smaller legislative packages.
Although the House may move a bill first, Funk says that bill will not influence the Senate. "We will look at a House bill as advisory to us. It will not dictate the Senate approach."
The issue that most sharply divided the Republican House and Democratic Senate in the last Congress was drilling in the Arctic refuge.
ANWR drilling passed easily in the House, but the Senate bill did not contain an ANWR provision, and several Democratic senators promised to filibuster any bill that did. Indeed, Democratic leadership pulled the bill from committee when they realized ANWR drilling provisions would survive Senate Energy Committee markup.
In that last Congress, all but five Senate Democrats opposed drilling and eight Republicans joined the anti-ANWR vote in the one floor vote on drilling, forced by ANWR's most ardent Senate supporter, Sen. Frank H. Murkowski (R-Alaska). ANWR went down 46 to 54.
A vote on drilling in ANWR would be very close in the new Senate, but Democrats believe Republicans cannot muster the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster. However, staff say this situation could change with a war with Iraq and further demonstration of U.S. dependence on Middle Eastern oil.
Meanwhile, drilling supporters are looking at the possibility of adding ANWR drilling provisions to the fiscal 2004 budget reconciliation legislation. A reconciliation bill requires a simple majority for passage and cannot be filibustered. The bill's purpose is to allow Congress to fine-tune or reconcile spending and revenue programs. The bill must be passed by June 15, and all provisions must have tax and revenue implications. Republicans used this device in 1995 to clear ANWR, but President Bill Clinton vetoed it. Bush would not.
For ACC, a good, balanced energy bill would include provisions to ensure supplies and control energy costs, a spokesman says. The chemical industry trade association is particularly concerned about the increase in natural gas prices, which have nearly doubled in the past year (C&EN, Jan. 6, page 9).
Homeland security experts worry that scattered jurisdiction will adversely affect Congress' ability to guide homeland security policy as a whole.
CHEMICAL PLANT SECURITY. In the first few days of the session, a new security bill (S. 6) was introduced that would affect security at nuclear, water treatment, and chemical plants. The bill would require facility managers to determine plant vulnerability and take steps to reduce terrorist risk. It would prioritize security actions required for plants, based on the threat and plants' proximity to population centers.
The chemical plant provisions in the bill are similar to those of S. 1602 authored by Sen. Jon S. Corzine (D-N.J.) during the last session. The chemical industry hotly opposed the Corzine approach and successfully blocked it. The industry's main opposition was to the role of EPA in regulating chemical companies' security efforts and a requirement that companies use inherently safer technologies.
Instead, both ACC and the Synthetic Organic Chemical Manufacturers Association instituted their own security requirements for their members.
"We don't necessarily believe there is a need for legislation," SOCMA staff members say, "but we could be supportive if requirements were kept within appropriate parameters."
"We recognize there is a need for appropriate federal legislation," an ACC official says. "We are ready to go and to figure out what the approach should be."
The trade associations want the new Homeland Security Department to oversee antiterrorism efforts, not EPA, which they say lacks expertise and resources. However, EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman has said the President will designate EPA as the lead agency for reducing vulnerability of the chemical industry (C&EN, Oct. 7, 2002, page 6).
In the last session, Corzine's bill swept through the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee but was blocked on the Senate floor. But this committee is now chaired by Republican Inhofe, rather than Independent Jeffords, who was a strong advocate for Corzine's approach.
Inhofe opposes many of the provisions in the Corzine bill, and one of Inhofe's aides predicts rounds of negotiation before a measure could be brought before Inhofe's committee.
HEALTH. The nation's health care system will get a lot of attention in Congress this year, especially measures to reduce the cost of prescription drugs. On Jan. 7, Sens. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and McCain, along with 17 other senators, introduced legislation (S. 54) that makes it easier for less expensive generic drugs to be sold. It is the same bill that the Senate passed last summer.
Under current law, known as the Hatch-Waxman Act, brand-name drugmakers can file multiple patents on their drugs, often when the original patent is about to expire. If a generic drugmaker then attempts to market its drug, the generics firm can be sued, triggering a 30-month hold on the generic's approval. Sometimes, several successive 30-month delays occur. The Schumer bill would allow only one 30-month stay per drug. It would also forbid secret out-of-court settlements under which generic drug firms are paid to delay sale of a drug.
A similar bill could pass the House this year, because lowering the cost of prescription drugs is a priority issue for both parties. And the Administration supports some provisions in Schumer's bill (C&EN, Oct. 28, 2002, page 13).
However, generic drug measures still face strong opposition. The Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) and the Biotechnology Industry Organization oppose both Schumer's bill and Bush's proposal.
In another effort to lower prescription drug costs, on Jan. 7, Daschle introduced a bill (S. 7) that would provide coverage of outpatient prescription drugs under the Medicare program. The bill is strongly opposed by PhRMA because it mandates that the government be the sole purchaser of drugs for seniors.
PhRMA favors a private-sector approach to drug coverage for seniors. "We would support something very similar to what the federal employees health benefit plan has, which serves 9 million federal workers and members of Congress," PhRMA spokesman Jeff Trewhitt says. Sens. John B. Breaux (D-La.) and Frist plan to reintroduce the same bipartisan Medicare legislation they sponsored last year, which takes a private-sector approach to drug coverage.
Legislative activity is also likely on genetically modified foods and animals. Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) plans to reintroduce the genetically engineered food act (S. 3095) he sponsored last year. It would mandate premarket review of genetically modified organisms. The bill would also make the review process more transparent and allow for public participation. As recommended in a recent National Research Council report, it gives FDA more authority over the review process and requires biotech firms to submit all FDA-requested data.
Jay J. Vroom, president of the industry group CropLife America, says his organization's chief legislative priority is to increase the fees that industry pays EPA for pesticide registration in exchange for faster decisions. A measure to accomplish that was attached to the farm bill last year, but it was cut by the conferees in the 11th hour. EPA's implementation of the Food Quality Protection Act will probably get more congressional scrutiny this year, he says, but he doesn't expect any legislative activity in this area.
SCIENCE POLICY. Despite the prospect of lower federal funding for R&D in 2004, House Science Committee Chairman Boehlert has said the November 2002 elections were a good omen for science. He said the science community has already made its case that long-term investments in R&D are among the wisest investments that government can make.
Moreover, Boehlert has said that his committee has been effective in getting congressional appropriators to listen to its recommendations. Boehlert has been quoted as saying he is confident that money will continue to flow toward NSF.
Other items relating to NSF that are expected to appear on the legislative agenda include a bill on nanotechnology. This will be an authorization bill that creates a kind of interagency coordinating committee with advisory budget numbers spelled out for congressional appropriators. Congress is expected to designate NSF as the lead agency for this effort.
There will be continued interest in the major equipment activities of NSF, Capitol Hill observers say. Major equipment activities are big, one-of-a-kind facilities on the order of the new South Pole station in Antarctica or the Gemini telescope project in Chile. Congress will want to make sure that NSF can manage budget growth it might provide in this area.
A rewrite last year of the Elementary & Secondary Education Act--the President's No Child Left Behind initiative--inadvertently shortchanged science education, sources say. Proponents of science education will be looking to correct that error by bolstering support for the upcoming reauthorization of the Higher Education Act and through the Department of Education budget.
On the subject of cloning, a bill is expected to be introduced in the House to ban both human reproductive cloning and somatic cell nuclear transfer, which is also called therapeutic cloning. This follows a claim by the company Clonaid that two women have given birth to clones. Capitol Hill observers say that bill may pass.
In the Senate, a similar bill is expected to be introduced by Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.). Proponents of federal funding for somatic cell nuclear transfer research feel certain they can thwart a ban in the Senate. And they are optimistic about their ability to rally support for another Senate bill--introduced by Sens. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), and Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.)--that would ban human reproductive cloning but allow somatic cell nuclear transfer research to move forward. Yet another piece of Senate legislation expected to be introduced this session will allow federal funding of stem cell derivation using the somatic cell nuclear transfer technique.