This type of research is very controversial, and it's understandable that the U.S. government would not want to let their grantees jump into it prematurely. But there are already lots of legal hoops in place to prevent exactly this kind of research from happening, according to an article in Nature News and Comment. The National Institutes of Health has had a ban on editing genes of human embryos since 1996. The FDA has been keeping its eye on this kind of research for a long time, which is why it commissioned a report by the U.S. Institute of Medicine
to uncover the implications for it, so far the agency has not given any indication that it would actually sponsor this kind of research. And while the House bill will discourage embryo editing in clinical trials (because the FDA can't spend money to assess it), it still wouldn't pertain to research like that of the Chinese team because it didn't involve viable embryos. Several bioethicists are asking: What good would this extra layer of ethical consideration actually do?