Congress at any time could have authorized funding.
The article mentions Rutgers' Wise Young:
"He's not backpedaling," said Wise Young, an internationally known neuroscientist at Rutgers University. "We need a law so we don't have this political football. If Obama simply rescinds the Bush order, it lets Congress off the hook" in dealing with an ethically charged issue.
See also IPBiz on Wise Young, for example
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 2007-->
Star-Ledger fails to rationalize defeat of NJ stem cell bond question