Schwarzenegger Approves $150M Stem Cell Loan
Now that President Bush has vetoed it at the federal level, states are beginning to fund stem cell research on their own, with California and Illinois joining the fray yesterday.
A day after President Bush vetoed expanded federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Thursday authorized a $150 million loan to fund California’s stem cell institute, which has been stalled by lawsuits. Schwarzenegger, a Republican who has been trying to put distance between himself and the unpopular president as he seeks re-election this year, said the state cannot afford to wait to fund the critical science associated with stem cells. “I remain committed to advancing stem cell research in California, in the promise it holds for millions of our citizens who suffer from chronic diseases and injuries that could be helped as a result of stem cell research,” Schwarzenegger said in a letter to his finance director.
Elsewhere, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, a Democrat, announced Thursday that he is diverting $5 million from the state budget for stem cell research, despite repeated objections from state legislators. “Investing in research that can save lives and prevent serious illnesses is more than a sound public health strategy, it’s our moral obligation,” he said. The money will come out of administrative funds already set aside for the state Department of Healthcare and Family Services, Blagojevich said.
This seems perfectly reasonable to me. The several states have different political cultures on these controversial issues and are, quite literally, serving as laboratories.
While I have little doubt that Schwarzenegger is seeking to distance himself from Bush on various issues–California hasn’t been a red state in years–one would think legitimate philosophical disagreement would be a perfectly satisfactory explanation for this move. Why must every issue, even on the state level, be framed vis-a-vis the president?