President Bush’s veto of SCHIP stands. Speaker Pelosi failed to execute one of the most important facets of her job. That is to round up enough votes to override the president’s veto. She fell 13 votes short of reaching the 2/3 majority of those present and voting necessary to override a veto. The vote to override the veto was 273 to 156. The bill was originally approved by a vote of 265 to 159 on September 25, 2007.
First, the Republicans in the Senate stalled debate on the bill by blocking a move to begin negotiating with the house on legislation to re-authorize and expand the State Children’s Health Insurance Program [SCHIP]. According to the Republicans, there are concerns over the scope of the final bill. This move means that an extension is required to continue funding for SCHIP past its September 30 expiration date. Differences in the two bills must be resolved by a joint House-Senate conference committee before the legislation can be passed on to the president for final approval. If a conference report is not produced by September 30, 2007, Congress will need to pass an extension to continue funding for SCHIP, probably at the programs current level.
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Next, the House approved the conference report with a vote of 265 to 159 on Tuesday September 25, 2007 and the Senate approved it on Thursday with a 67-29 vote. President Bush has promised to veto it. To overturn a veto, each chamber of Congress must produce a 2/3 majority of those present and voting. Anticipating a veto, Congress will continue funding the program at its current level.
Bush makes good on his promise to veto SCHIP. Hiding behind closed doors, President Bush, on Wednesday, September 26,2007 vetoed the children’s health insurance bill that had passed both houses. As passed by both Houses, The State Children’s Health Insurance Program [SCHIP] would add $35 billion over five years to the program to subsidize health care for 4 million in addition to 6.6 million people currently served. The program is a joint state - federal effort to serve people, mostly children, from families that earn to much to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to afford their own private insurance. The expansion would primarily be funded by raising the federal cigarette tax to $1 per pack , a 61 cents per pack increase.
Because not enough Republicans stood up to Bush to override the veto, the Democrats have promised to keep sending the bill to Bush, each time increasing the pressure on vulnerable Republicans to support health care for our kids.
Mr, Bush has said he is open to compromise with the Democrats on this bill. Congressman Vern Buchanan [R-FL 13th dist.] has said he will vote to override the veto but if the override should fail he will be among those working on a compromise. Sen. Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader, on the other hand has said, that to win support from Republicans Democrats had compromised and negotiated as much as they were going to. Republican officials have said that the program have said that the program ought to be focused on poor families.
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But, the CBS news poll released Wednesday found overwhelming support for expanding the program. 81% say they are in favor of expanding SCHIP and 74% of those in favor would be willing to pay increased taxes to support expansion of SCHIP.
1. "House Fails to Override Child Health Care Veto". DAVID STOUT and ROBERT PEAR, The New York Times, October 18, 2007
2. "Bush Makes Good on his Promise to Veto", KENNETH BRIGGS, OpEdNews, October 3, 2007
3."Bush Vetoes Child Insurance Plan", Truthout, October 3, 2007
4. "Buchanan Denounces Partisanship Over Children’s Care Visits Health Clinic To See Benefits of Kidcare" Buchanan Press Release, October 5, 2007
5."CBS NEWS", Poll: Most Back Dems in Kids’ Health Fight, New York, October 17, 2007
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