Stem cell research tops Obama agenda

Although the economy is clearly the priority for the new President-elect, Barack Obama's still growing team has indicated that he has already begun reviewing President George W. Bush's executive orders to decide which ones should stay, which will be repealed and which need to be amended. And stem cell research is among the top issues Obama is likely to tackle once in office, Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, tells the Wall Street Journal.

"Bucket one would have children's health care, Schip," said Emanuel. "It has bipartisan agreement in the House and Senate. It's something President-elect Obama expects to see. Second would be [ending current restrictions on federally funded] stem-cell research. And third would be an economic recovery package focused on the two principles of job creation and tax relief for middle-class families."

Obama has long favored stem cell research. In a 2007 news release, Obama said,"I am frustrated... that we are preventing the advancement of important science that could potentially impact millions of suffering Americans... My hope, and the hope of so many in this country, is to provide our researchers with the means to explore the uses of embryonic stem cells so that we can begin to turn the tide on the devastating diseases affecting our nation and our world."

- read more from Rahm Emanuel at the WSJ
read the LA Times report for researchers' reactions