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Thread: My Meeting w/ US House Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC)

  1. #1

    My Meeting w/ US House Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC)

    Although my father and I take extreme opposite sides of the political fence, we both agree on the urgency of the stem cell issue and would like to see President Bush reform his current policy.

    We've arranged for a meeting tomorrow with our representative in th US House, Howard Coble (R-NC.) The purpose is to put a human face on the stem cell issue and seek advice on how to bring about what we deem as necessary reform. I also want to gain a better understanding of the Republicans' current position and its efficacy.

    In a nut shell, Rep. Coble supports ethical stem cell research but does not believe embryos should be created and used for research purposes only.

    He responded to me in a letter that he "generally" supports Pres. Bush's limited research policy, in that he believes Bush has "handed researchers the tools necessary to advance medical discoveries." He goes on to express his disappointment in how stem cell proponents have "chosen to make this a political issue and not one based on sound science and good policy." Is this accurate? What evidence shows that it is, or is not?

    What is the current "sound science" and what would be a "good policy"?

    I don't wan't to pull a Kerry and blame and finger wag without viable solutions.

    Any suggestions on specific talking points to bring up tomorrow would be genuinely appreciated.

    "The essense of greatness is the perception that courage is enough." R. Waldo Emerson

  2. #2
    Off the top of my head, loosening the existing restrictions to include the lines that have been created with private funds in the last three years would be considered a safe bet.

    Suggesting that current funding of adult stem cell research be significantly increased, due to the lack of ESC research funds, is also safe.

    Sound science. So far, there isn't enough defintive evidence to silence the critics on either side of the fence. Those who oppose embryonic stem cell research say that adult stem cells are as robust as embryonic stem cells. In order to find out, they need to prove or disprove the theory of transdifferentiation. If it can be proven that adult stem cells can transdifferentiate, embryonic stem cells won't be needed. That should be a big talking point and carry a lot of weight. If he likes this idea, ask for a special allocation of say $20 million over two years to study just that.

    -Steven
    ...'scuse me? Are you lookin' at me? Did you rub my lamp?

  3. #3
    spaceboy,

    I don't know how receptive Congressman Coble will be. You can try to point out the following to him:
    • the leading scientists in the United States, including the National Academy of Science, have recommended that it is good science and policy to allow human embryonic stem cell research to go ahead as proposed by NIH, i.e. the study of stem cells from frozen embryos that fertility clinics are throwing away.
    • the policy has not saved a single embryo and encourages unregulated and unmonitored use of embryos.
    • President Bush was mistakened when he thought that there were over 60 human embryonic stem cell lines available, that there are only 22 such line, that all of them are contaminated with mouse genes, and that most scientists think that it is not sound science or policy to study such a limited set of contaminated cells that can never be used in humans.

    I suspect that he will not listen to these arguments because they have been presented to Congress and the White House many times. You should be able to tell within five minutes of the discussion whether he has already closed his mind on the subject. If so, I think that the message that he would be more receptive to would be:

    • the importance of funding spinal cord injury research because so many therapies have been shown to regenerate the spinal cord,
    • the urgency of funding clinical trials that would benefit so many people.
    • the need for more adult stem cell research funding if embryonic stem cell research is held back.

    You can talk to him about the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Act that the House passed unanimously two days after Christopher Reeve died but has been stopped in the Senate due to politics. You can tell him that the spinal cord injury community has been despondent because there has been no positive word coming from the leadership of this country at all concerning the priority for research and cure. All the claims of false hope has had the effect of removing hope from people that they will ever get out of their wheelchairs.

    Wise.

  4. #4
    Here's a great website where you can find some valid points to discuss...
    Stem Cell Research 101/Click Here
    Besides the info on the main page here, look at the left menu and click on State Legislative Tool Kit, then click on Learning about the Issue-Stem Cell Research 101.
    Lots of good talking points.
    Good Luck and thanks!

  5. #5
    Senior Member Jeff's Avatar
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    spaceboy - Using leftover, soon-to-be-discarded embryos from fertility clinics should be allowed. There is no ethical argument against it. It is just like donating organs from a person before their life support is turned off. Except a parent donates cells from the embryo before it goes in the disposal. So #1, using leftover embryos from fertility clinics should be allowed.

    #2, there should be no restriction against using private funds to study non-approved ESC lines in labs that receive NIH funding for other projects. That provision is really low, IMO.

    The next big one is to allow somatic cell nuclear transfer, SCNT, as a way to produce stem cells. This process might be harder to sell. It means basically transforming a haploid egg cell into a diploid cell capable of cell division that produces stem cells. I believe this process does not produce an embryo capable of becoming a fetus. Nor would scientists attempt such. The key to selling SCNT is that the nuclear transfer never produces an embryo. Just a dividing group of cells.

    Best regards on your meeting. And thank you for pitching in your support.

    ~See you at the SCIWire-used-to-be-paralyzed Reunion ~

  6. #6
    Wise, could you check this PT real quick?

    Thanks.

  7. #7
    Best of Luck tmmrw, Spaceboy. May God open up the Republican soul just for a time to see what we go thru; day after day.

    TAKE YOUR HANDS OFF MY MOJO


  8. #8
    Spaceboy,

    Steven Edwards just rightly corrected me that the House did not pass the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Act (H. R. 1998, introduced by Congressman Bilirakis) and referred to the Health Committee on 5/7/2003
    To enhance and further research into paralysis and to improve rehabilitation and the quality of life for persons living with paralysis and other physical disabilities, and for other purposes.
    . Representative Howard Coble is not one of the sponsor. The list of sponsors is as follows.

    Rep Andrews, Robert E. [NJ-1] - 7/18/2003
    Rep Baldwin, Tammy [WI-2] - 6/25/2003
    Rep Bradley, Jeb [NH-1] - 9/4/2003
    Rep Brown, Sherrod [OH-13] - 5/7/2003
    Rep Brown-Waite, Ginny [FL-5] - 7/18/2003
    Rep Burr, Richard [NC-5] - 9/8/2004
    Rep Carson, Brad [OK-2] - 6/24/2003
    Rep Carson, Julia [IN-7] - 6/24/2003
    Rep Case, Ed [HI-2] - 7/18/2003
    Rep Costello, Jerry F. [IL-12] - 6/25/2003
    Rep Cox, Christopher [CA-48] - 7/18/2003
    Rep Deal, Nathan [GA-10] - 6/3/2003
    Rep DeGette, Diana [CO-1] - 6/25/2003
    Rep Deutsch, Peter [FL-20] - 9/9/2003
    Rep Dingell, John D. [MI-15] - 6/3/2003
    Rep Engel, Eliot L. [NY-17] - 5/7/2003
    Rep Eshoo, Anna G. [CA-14] - 6/25/2003
    Rep Evans, Lane [IL-17] - 5/7/2003
    Rep Ferguson, Mike [NJ-7] - 10/15/2003
    Rep Filner, Bob [CA-51] - 5/7/2003
    Rep Fletcher, Ernie [KY-6] - 6/25/2003
    Rep Fossella, Vito [NY-13] - 5/7/2003
    Rep Frank, Barney [MA-4] - 6/3/2003
    Rep Frost, Martin [TX-24] - 6/3/2003
    Rep Gordon, Bart [TN-6] - 6/3/2003
    Rep Green, Gene [TX-29] - 6/25/2003
    Rep Greenwood, James C. [PA-8] - 5/7/2003
    Rep Gutierrez, Luis V. [IL-4] - 10/6/2004
    Rep Hall, Ralph M. [TX-4] - 10/15/2003
    Rep Hinchey, Maurice D. [NY-22] - 7/18/2003
    Rep Houghton, Amo [NY-29] - 5/7/2003
    Rep Hoyer, Steny H. [MD-5] - 5/7/2003
    Rep Inslee, Jay [WA-1] - 6/3/2003
    Rep Jackson-Lee, Sheila [TX-18] - 6/3/2003
    Rep John, Christopher [LA-7] - 1/27/2004
    Rep Johnson, Eddie Bernice [TX-30] - 5/13/2004
    Rep Kaptur, Marcy [OH-9] - 1/27/2004
    Rep Kelly, Sue W. [NY-19] - 9/4/2003
    Rep Kildee, Dale E. [MI-5] - 6/3/2003
    Rep Lampson, Nick [TX-9] - 1/27/2004
    Rep Langevin, James R. [RI-2] - 5/7/2003
    Rep Lee, Barbara [CA-9] - 6/3/2003
    Rep Lofgren, Zoe [CA-16] - 1/27/2004
    Rep Lynch, Stephen F. [MA-9] - 9/4/2003
    Rep McDermott, Jim [WA-7] - 6/3/2003
    Rep Michaud, Michael H. [ME-2] - 6/3/2003
    Rep Miller, George [CA-7] - 6/3/2003
    Rep Nadler, Jerrold [NY-8] - 10/6/2004
    Rep Olver, John W. [MA-1] - 9/4/2003
    Rep Pallone, Frank, Jr. [NJ-6] - 9/24/2003
    Rep Price, David E. [NC-4] - 1/27/2004
    Rep Quinn, Jack [NY-27] - 5/13/2004
    Rep Rush, Bobby L. [IL-1] - 5/7/2003
    Rep Sanchez, Linda T. [CA-39] - 9/4/2003
    Rep Schakowsky, Janice D. [IL-9] - 6/3/2003
    Rep Sessions, Pete [TX-32] - 10/6/2004
    Rep Shaw, E. Clay, Jr. [FL-22] - 7/18/2003
    Rep Smith, Adam [WA-9] - 9/4/2003
    Rep Strickland, Ted [OH-6] - 5/7/2003
    Rep Terry, Lee [NE-2] - 11/20/2003
    Rep Towns, Edolphus [NY-10] - 5/7/2003
    Rep Turner, Michael R. [OH-3] - 1/27/2004
    Rep Upton, Fred [MI-6] - 7/18/2003
    Rep Walsh, James T. [NY-25] - 6/25/2003
    Rep Waxman, Henry A. [CA-30] - 5/7/2003
    Rep Weiner, Anthony D. [NY-9] - 1/27/2004
    Rep Wexler, Robert [FL-19] - 6/3/2003
    Rep Young, C. W. Bill [FL-10] -



    The identical bill S.1010 was introduced in the Senate by Senator Tom Harkin on 5/7/2003 with the following sponsors.

    Sen Bingaman, Jeff [NM] - 5/15/2003
    Sen Boxer, Barbara [CA] - 4/8/2004
    Sen Campbell, Ben Nighthorse [CO] - 5/15/2003
    Sen Clinton, Hillary Rodham [NY] - 9/22/2003
    Sen Corzine, Jon [NJ] - 5/15/2003
    Sen Daschle, Thomas A. [SD] - 9/2/2003
    Sen Dodd, Christopher J. [CT] - 6/10/2003
    Sen Edwards, John [NC] - 12/9/2003
    Sen Graham, Bob [FL] - 2/24/2004
    Sen Graham, Lindsey O. [SC] - 6/10/2003
    Sen Inouye, Daniel K. [HI] - 9/22/2004
    Sen Jeffords, James M. [VT] - 5/15/2003
    Sen Johnson, Tim [SD] - 3/22/2004
    Sen Kennedy, Edward M. [MA] - 5/7/2003
    Sen Kerry, John F. [MA] - 4/28/2004
    Sen Landrieu, Mary [LA] - 2/11/2004
    Sen Lautenberg, Frank R. [NJ] - 6/22/2004
    Sen Leahy, Patrick J. [VT] - 7/13/2004
    Sen Lieberman, Joseph I. [CT] - 7/28/2003
    Sen Lott, Trent [MS] - 9/29/2004
    Sen McCain, John [AZ] - 5/15/2003
    Sen Mikulski, Barbara A. [MD] - 6/2/2004
    Sen Murray, Patty [WA] - 2/11/2004
    Sen Nelson, E. Benjamin [NE] - 6/21/2004
    Sen Reid, Harry M. [NV] - 7/7/2003
    Sen Sarbanes, Paul S. [MD] - 6/24/2004
    Sen Schumer, Charles E. [NY] - 6/2/2004
    Sen Specter, Arlen [PA] - 5/7/2003

  9. #9
    Thanks for the responses. Well said, my friends!

    It was my understanding that the CRPA recently passed in the House unanimously, soon after CR's death,... is this not true?

    "The essense of greatness is the perception that courage is enough." R. Waldo Emerson

  10. #10
    Spaceboy, it was a misunderstanding on my part. Cheesecake had earlier posted a letter from Michael Manganiello about a bill called Research Review Act HR 5213 which Christopher Reeve supported and which the House of Representatives passed by a vote of 418-0. It was the week after Christopher's death and I wasn't paying all that much attention. I jumped to the conclusion that it was the CRPA. It was not. I apologize. I am now going through all the different postings I have made to correct this mistake. The CRPA is still in the Health Committee and has not yet come up for a vote in either the House or Senate. There was some discussion that it might come up for a vote in October. There was an article in the LA weekly which suggested that the bill did come up for a vote and then was held in the Senate (See this topic) but I have not been able to confirm this story. There is no record of the bill having come out for a vote. It seems that the LA Weekly article made a mistake and thought that the Research Review Act was the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Act. Much thanks to Steven Edwards for point this out to me. Wise.

    [This message was edited by Wise Young on 11-08-04 at 10:19 PM.]

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