Mary Agnes Carey, associate editor of CQ HealthBeat, examines House approval of a bill that would expand federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, a possible confirmation battle over President Bush's nominee for surgeon general and a House panel's mark-up of an FDA drug safety measure in this week's "Health on the Hill from kaisernetwork and CQ."

According to Carey, the House recently voted 247-176 to approve the Senate version of a bill that would expand federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. However, as with similar measures in the past, Bush has said he will veto it. The Senate would have the first opportunity to override the likely veto, but supporters previously have said the Senate is one vote short of the majority requirement, Carey says. Supporters of the legislation believe "they will eventually wear out the opposition, noting that there is widespread public support" for such research, according to Carey. Opponents of the research claim that cures can be found using alternative methods that do not destroy embryos, Carey says.

Carey also discusses opposition to Bush's nomination for the next surgeon general, James Holsinger. Gay-rights proponents have criticized the nomination because they say Holsinger has a history of opposition to gay rights, Carey says. Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) also has criticized the nomination. According to Carey, the Bush administration responded by saying Holsinger's work experience has shown he is committed to public service and health. He requires a majority of votes in the Senate to receive confirmation, but if his opponents decide to challenge the confirmation, he will need 60 votes to prevent a filibuster, Carey says.

Finally, Carey says the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee has scheduled June 14 to mark up a bill that revises FDA's drug safety process and reauthorizes the drug and medical device user fee programs. The measure would address postmarket drug safety, direct-to-consumer advertising and user fee mandates, among other issues, according to Carey (Carey, "Health on the Hill from kaisernetwork and CQ," 6/11).

The complete audio version of "Health on the Hill," transcript and resources for further research are available online at kaisernetwork.

"Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork/dailyreports/healthpolicy. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation . © 2005 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

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