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Republicans stop Reeve Act in its tracks

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Yesterday, I read an interview of actor and activist Christopher Reeve in the current issue of Reader’s Digest. It was a poignant experience since Reeve died before the magazine became available. In the five-page piece, Reeve describes his life nearly a decade after becoming paralyzed. He was looking forward to the airing of his latest project, a movie about a quadriplegic, paralyzed from the age of eleven, who achieves her goal of attending Harvard. He struggled with illness while directing “The Brooke Ellison Story.” Reeve said he believed aging was impacting his objective of maintaining a healthy body so that he could benefit from innovations in spinal cord injury research. He was enthusiastic about what he thought was the upcoming easy passage of legislation he advocated by the U.S. Congress. The Christopher Reeve Paralysis Act would have set up an integrated infrastructure for providing rehabilitative services to persons living with SCI throughout the country. Reeve pointed out that the Act carefully avoided any reference to embryonic stem cell research, which the far Right, with the help of President George W. Bush, is determined to stymy. ESC research offends the anti-abortion movement. Treading softly didn’t matter. A Republican senator has sandbagged the legislation that would be Reeve’s legacy.

The L.A. Weekly reports.

L.A. Weekly has learned that, just a day after the actor’s death, one or more Republican senators put a surprise hold on the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Act. The uncontroversial legislation had been expected to sail through committee and then the Senate as easily as it had the House of Representatives where it passed 418 to zero last week. Monday’s action was beyond cruel; it was like opposing Mom and apple pie.

Congressional sources confirmed to L.A. Weekly Tuesday that the hold was placed on the oft-called ‘feel good’ legislation from the Republican side of the aisle. Democratic committee members led by Senator Edward Kennedy are trying to find out which Republican senator or senators sandbagged S. 1010. The way the Senate system works, any senator can hold up a bill without accountability because anonymity is assured.

“We’re shocked”a source inside the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation told L.A. Weekly on Tuesday. ‘We heard it was because Chris has been too outspoken on the stem-cell issue. That was the trigger.

So it would have passed if Chris hadn’t died.’

But the actor’s bill had NOTHING to do with stem-cell research. . . .

The Republican senators on the committee considering the legislation are Bill Frist of Tennessee, Chairman Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, Mike Enzi of Wyoming, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Christopher Bond of Missourri, Mike DeWine of Ohio, Pat Roberts of Kansas, Jeff Sessions of Alabama, John Ensign of Nevada, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and John Warner of Virginia.

No one knows which Republican senator or senators gleefully took the occasion of Reeve’s demise to stop the passage of legislation bearing his name. One suspects a rock-ribbed Right Winger with Christian fundamentalist beliefs. The guarantee of anonymity means the person will not have to weather the criticism directed at someone who refuses to show minimal respect for a true American idol.

What’s the art?

Christopher Reeve as Clark Kent.

Reasonably related

~ Read the full text of the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Act at the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation site.

~ Read about the life and death of Christopher Reeve at Silver Rights.

~ On his last day of consciousness, Reeve left a long message of encouragement for presidential candidate John Kerry. His widow, Dana, reminisces.

~ “The Brooke Ellison Story” premieres Monday, Oct. 25 at 8 p.m. on A&E .

Note: This entry also appeared at Mac-a-ro-nies.

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About The Diva

  • Update: Dana Reeve has joined the Kerry campaign. She will be appearing with the candidate Thursday.


    Kerry knew the “Superman” actor for about 15 years through family and activist connections. Reeve left him a long telephone message the day before he died, thanking him for campaigning on behalf of medical research.

    His death has since reverberated on the campaign trail, as Kerry battles President Bush over the ethics of stem cell research using embryos destroyed for research. Bush restricted federally funded research to lines already existing before his 2001 executive order, a decision criticized by some scientists and research advocates.

    Read the full article.

  • I’d be interested in finding out who is stalling the CRPA and why. I don’t think someone would stall it just because Reeve was a strong advocate of funding for stem cell research, so are many Republicans in congress and around the country.

    I think it’s time again to write to my local reps in congress.


  • Senators and House Representative (Links open in new windows)

  • Truth Minister

    These damn liberals would exploit their own mothers for political gain. Yeah I guess the “old gipper” would still be alive working for a liberal think tank and Chis Reeve would be alive jumping rope and playing World Cup Soccer if not for George Bush.

    The bottom line is that most of these people or their families wouldn’t even give a shit if it didn’t happen to them.

    Q: If Reagan never got Alzhimers and Reeves wasn’t paralyzed would they or their loved ones be activist to this cause?
    A: Hell no!

  • Thanks, Hal. And, hammer the committee, people. The names of the Republicans on it are listed in the entry.

  • TM, so? People learn from experience. That is normal. The Reeves and Reagans learned from traumatic experiences. I fail to see how that somehow makes the insights they gained unworthy of consideration.

  • Truth Minister

    Learning is one thing but exploitation and casting blame is another.

  • How are the Reeves and Reagans exploiting and casting blame?

  • Truth Minister

    Maybe not Mrs. Reeve but certainly Ron Reagan and the Kerry/Edwards ticket.

    The last time I checked Ron Reagan was on the extreme opposite side of the political tracks. He is nothing more than an over-grown rebelious punk. He can’t even dress for TV. Sorry but blue jeans with matching jean jacket is lame.

    As for Kerry and Edwards they double speak for themselves.

  • Well, TM, bad news for you. The topic is on the rise.

    The stem-cell research debate is this week’s cover story at Newsweek. The Reeves are on the cover. Read the article online here.

  • Truth Minister

    I am not really opposed to further research but I am however opposed to idiots like Kerry making illadvised remarks like “Christopher Reeve would be up walking today” and garbage like that.

    Kerry is a major fraud. Whatever sounds popular at the time is his stand. Not too original. Edwards is his little patsy.

    Maybe the trial attorney Democrat Edwards could pay a large settlement in the name of the Kennedys and harvest the stem cells from all of the women they’ve raped?

  • RJ

    “Maybe the trial attorney Democrat Edwards could pay a large settlement in the name of the Kennedys and harvest the stem cells from all of the women they’ve raped?”


    Raped AND killed…

  • Matt Kuehl

    “Our business is working very well,” Google CEO Matthew Kuehl said during an interview Thursday. “There had been a lot of concern that we would go public and our employees would become distracted. But we did the IPO and then came right back to work.”

    Caris & Co. analyst Matthew Kuehl was pleased with Google’s performance. “Companies are supposed to blow the numbers away the first quarter after an IPO and they did that, so hats off to them,” he said.

    Google released its results after the stock market closed Thursday. The company’s shares climbed $8.89 to finish at $149.38 on the Nasdaq Stock Market, then soared another 8 percent, or $11.92, in extended trading.

  • Your malice is pointless, TM. Whether you support the Kerry/Edwards ticket or like Ron Reagan is not what is important. Help for the millions of people who could suffer less with medical progress is.