Congress OKs Deal to Keep Schiavo on Tube
By SIOBHAN McDONOUGH Associated Press Writer
Compromise Reached on Measure to Allow Federal Court Review of Schiavo Case, Resume Feeding

WASHINGTON Mar 19, 2005  Congress leaders announced agreement Saturday on legislation they said would allow a severely brain-damaged woman to resume being fed while a federal court decides the right-to-die battle between her parents and her husband.

"We think we have found a solution" to the Terri Schiavo case, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, said at a Capitol Hills news conference. "All sides agree that this is the best way to proceed."

Final approval was expected Sunday when the House planned to meet in a special session, he said. The Senate planned to pass a resolution Saturday evening that would let House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., call the House into session on Sunday.

DeLay said President Bush would sign the bill as soon as it got to him.

The compromise was similar to a Senate bill passed Thursday that would let a federal court has jurisdiction in the Schiavo case. House Republicans had favored broader legislation that applied similar cases that questioned the legality of withholding food or medical treatment from people who are incapacitated.

Schiavo's feeding tube was disconnected Friday afternoon. Schiavo, 41, could linger for one to two weeks if no one intercedes and gets the tube reinserted.

Rep. James Sensenbrenner, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said the legislation would move the case to federal court where a judge would determine who has the legal right to decide the question of nutrition and hydration for Schiavo and whether they can be terminated.

Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., said the measure was "narrowly targeted," does not set a precedent and would allow Schiavo to resume being fed and hydrated during the legal appeals.

For a decade, a feud has raged between Schiavo's husband, Michael, and her parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, who have tried to oust Michael Schiavo as their daughter's guardian and keep in place the tube that has kept her alive for more than 15 years.

Michael Schiavo says his wife told him she would not want to be kept alive artificially. Her parents dispute that, saying she could get better and that their daughter has laughed, cried, smiled and responded to their voices. 

President Bush's spokesman said Friday that the president supported the congressional efforts. "We appreciate those who are standing on the side of protecting and defending life," Scott McClellan said.

Also Friday, Republicans used their subpoena power to demand that Schiavo be brought before a congressional hearing, with lawmakers saying that removing the tube amounted to "barbarism."

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