President Obama will fulfill a campaign promise on an important issue for liberals and scientists Monday by signing an executive order freeing up federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, according to reports by ABC News and The Washington Post.

According to "administration officials" quoted in those reports, Obama will hold an event to celebrate the new policy at 11:00 a.m. Monday.

Obama's move to lift the restrictions placed on federal funding for the research by President George W. Bush on Aug. 9, 2001, should come as no surprise: Not only did Obama repeatedly promise he'd do this but he co-sponsored legislation to the same effect while in the Senate, though Bush twice vetoed the bill.

Still, the announcement Monday should quell the curious anxiety some liberal activists and science advocates seemed to develop during the several weeks that Obama has been president. According to some news accounts, these folks were worried he would fail to back up his promise for some mysterious reason.

Scientists badly want access to federal dollars to advance this research. Embryonic stem cells could have the potential to be converted into any type of human tissue, meaning they could be used to develop therapies for countless ailments. Liberals decried Bush's position as one that put ideology ahead of scientific evidence -- a point Obama is sure to drive home Monday.

Bush, with the support of allies in the conservative movement, opposed expanding federal funding on this type of stem cell research because human embryos are destroyed in the process. Though there are other kinds of stem cell research using cells from adults or placentas (and researchers are coming up with more ways to get the cells), scientists continue to maintain the those that come from embryos have the most potential.

The next step is for the National Institutes of Health to develop guidelines for how to dole money out. Then Congress will have to take action to put a federal stem-cell funding policy on the books. Given that the House and Senate passed stem cell legislation several times since over recent years -- including during a period when Republicans controlled the agenda -- that shouldn't be so hard.

-Jeffrey Young