Sunday, August 19, 2001

U.S. Sen. Dan Inouye, greeted then-Secretary of the
Navy John H. Dalton at a 1997 ground-breaking
ceremony that launched a Navy project preparing
for the transfer of squadrons to Kaneohe upon
closure of the Barbers Point naval air station. The
issue of base closures is one that Inouye
continues to monitor closely.

Stem-cell funding
too conservative,
Inouye believes

He questions whether all 60 cell
lines are available for research

By Gregg K. Kakesako

U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye believes that President Bush didn't go far enough when he announced that he would permit limited government funding to support research on embryonic stem cells.

"He played some fancy political footwork there," Inouye said. "I am for it, but I am against it. But I am glad he recognizes that research will benefit mankind."

Under Bush's plan, federal funds would be allowed for research on existing stem-cell lines.

The National Institutes of Health has determined 60 stem-cell lines exist in the world, which Bush approved for research. Stem cells come from embryos and have the potential to develop into any of the 200-plus kinds of cells in the human body.

Inouye questioned whether there are 60 lines available in the United States.

The Hawaii Democrat said he can't gauge what the Congress will do with the issue once the current recess is over.

But Inouye said there is a big difference between the cloning of a sheep and a cloning of a human being. Inouye has been home for a few days at time since Congress adjourned earlier this month meeting with constituents, military leaders and making various public appearances.

Before the summer congressional recess began, the U.S. House of Representatives passed anti-cloning legislation. The Senate is scheduled to take up the issue when it returns from its August recess.

Inouye said "when you speak of human cloning, like cloning someone like Albert Einstein, I would have great doubts about that.

"But if cloning means developing some parts of the body that might help science and help humankind, I think this matter should be looked into very seriously."

Inouye also said he could get involved again in the latest stalemate between the Hawaii State Teachers Association and Gov. Ben Cayetano.

"As long as they are talking to each other," Inouye said, "it's a good sign. Once they stop talking, then we've got problems. But they are talking."

The teacher's union and state are in a dispute over whether a 3 percent bonus for teachers with advanced degrees is to be paid one time only or twice in two years.

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