- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 19, 2002

A proposal by Republican Sen. Sam Brownback to prohibit the patenting of human life, including cloned human embryos, was essentially defeated yesterday after Democratic leaders managed to limit debate on the terrorism-insurance bill it would have amended.

Democrats managed by a vote of 65-31 to invoke cloture on the bill yesterday, limiting debate and restricting amendments to those directly related to the bill's subject matter.

Mr. Brownback's patenting amendment was ruled unrelated and therefore was defeated.

"It has nothing to do with the underlying legislation," Majority Whip Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, said.

But Mr. Brownback, Kansas Republican, said he will continue to push the human-cloning issue and is considering other legislation to attach it to, including the defense authorization bill the Senate is considering.

Mr. Brownback's main goal is to get an up-or-down vote in the Senate on his larger bill, which would ban the cloning of human embryos for any purpose, including medical research. He and the bill's co-sponsor, Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, Louisiana Democrat, are keeping all of their options open, Mrs. Landrieu said.

The two are shopping around a compromise bill that would limit the Brownback comprehensive human cloning ban to two years. A number of senators are interested in the moratorium idea, Mrs. Landrieu said.

Meanwhile, others continue to rally support for competing legislation that would ban implanting of a cloned human embryo into a uterus but would allow embryos to be cloned to extract their stem cells for medical research.

It is sponsored by Sens. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat, and Arlen Specter, Pennsylvania Republican.

Mrs. Feinstein says she is "hopeful" they will soon have the 60 votes needed to avoid a filibuster and pass her measure.

Supporters of this approach say human cloning research could hold the key to treating a host of ailments, and some also say the cloning process does not produce a human embryo because sperm is not involved. But Mrs. Landrieu said a vote for the Feinstein bill "is a vote for human cloning," because it would put the government on record for the first time as authorizing the human cloning procedure.

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