Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist says he supports a bill to expand federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research, in a break from President Bush's policy. Frist's support could push the measure closer to passage — and a possible White House veto.
The announcement by Frist, a trained physician, stunned many in the political and scientific establishments. In his remarks, he said he would back a bill that would greatly expand federal funding for disease research that uses embryonic stem cells.
Frist is widely seen as having presidential ambitions. His endorsement was welcomed by advocates of the research — and denounced by some conservatives as a betrayal. The issue is one that President Bush changed his position on, as he initially supported the funding but urged new restrictions that have been place since 2001.