Barack Obama is set to lift the Bush administration's restrictions on federally funded embryonic stem cell research, but his announcement today won't cover all such experiments, the New York Times reports. The president's action will allow scientists to do research using existing stem cell lines, and those embryos left over from fertility clinics. But a congressional ban in effect since 1996 will still prevent federal researchers from creating and experimenting on their own stem cell lines.
Obama doesn't have the power to overturn what's called the Dickey-Wicker ban, and he's leaving the issue to Congress to consider. Overturning the ban "would be difficult, but not impossible," says one House member. “It’s a wonderful development tomorrow,” says Colorado Rep. Diana DeGette, “but it’s really the first step in opening up ethical cell-based research.”