It was on hold for awhile because of bush. That idiot.
No it was not.
FDA approvals, even for test studies, do not happen in 2 days. This has been in the works for a long while, all but two days of it under the Bush administration. Indeed no where in the story linked do they say the Bush administration was holding this approval up. Nothing was on hold.
Geron funded this entirely with their own money, just like thousands of other R&D projects around the country in all sorts of industries. I'm puzzled as to why this specific form of stem cell research is so damned important to have more tax money spent on it than is already being done. Yes, Bush was the first president to approve funding for embryonic stem cell research. The research was limited to 20 stem cell source lines though, as a compromise on between the competing interests of moral/ethical questions and the desire to use what stem cell lines are already available. This rule did nothing to preclude privately funded R&D or to fundamentally limit or preclude theraputic stem cell research.
The only thing that "held this up" is lack of private funding and the fact that this was the first study proposal of this type the FDA had reviewed and so didn't have anything to compare it against. Lack of funding is a problem shared by businesses of all stripes and all sorts of R&D efforts. No big injustice there. And at some point there was going to be a first for this kind of study. No matter when it came along it was going to be a longer than usual approval process. Again, no grand injustice.
Keep in mind, pharma is one of the most well funded industries in this country and the fact they could only scrape up $40 million or so for this effort is indicative not of any Bush initiated restriction but of how lacking in payoff/potential this sort of research has been compared to other priorities and initiatives. For instance efforts with adult stem cells, umbilical stem cells, and other sources has gone on with more success and hope for results and thus with greater funding.