>Let’s get this straight: SCHIP will not cease to be because of the President’s veto.
Last month, we read that Congress had passed a 16 week extension of SCHIP and that the President would veto the SCHIP bill if Congress went ahead with their planned expansion to nearly double the funding.
The SCHIP bill that was passed was an ideological stunt that included re-definition of prenatal pregnancy care (to medical treatment of the pregnant woman – which would include abortion in some states, possibly all) and which increased the funding way beyond that needed to continue coverage for the 6.5 million children currently eligible.
Beyond raising the funding level without a clear cut plan for raising funds (possible increased cigarette taxes while counting the lapse of tax cuts of a few years ago), the Bill would have forced States such as Texas, where the cost of living is lower, to subsidize States such as New Jersey and New York, where proponents say that a family of 4 can’t live on $80,000+ a year. As it is, Texas does not spend all of our allocated SCHIP and Medicaid money – that money is used to reward the big spender States. (Do we know how much of that reward is responsible for the high cost of living in those States?)
The President and Congress will now come up with a more reasonable plan, probably somewhere between the $5 Billion dollar over 5 years that the President proposed and the $35 Billion dollar expansion that Congress passed.
The Democrats are postponing the vote to overturn the veto for 2 more weeks:
But the Democratic-led Congress put off an override vote for about two weeks, to give them more time to put pressure on GOP lawmakers who they think are politically vulnerable. A union-led organization said it would spend more than $3 million trying to influence the outcome.
“It’s going to be a hard vote for Republicans,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
The Senate passed the five-year expansion of the program last week on a vote of 67-29, just above the two-thirds margin needed to override a veto, but the House tally of 265-159 was 25 votes short of that mark.
Bush advisers said they remain convinced that they can secure an extension of the 10-year-old program with a less expensive price tag, saying they hope to soon open negotiations. But if the veto stands, Democrats said, they will reapprove the measure without significant changes and send it back to the White House, forcing the GOP to go on record again as opposing expansion of the program.
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