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President Bush Vetoes SCHIP Expansion Bill For The Second Time
Inadequate Support in Congress for Veto Override
President George W. Bush on December 12th vetoed for the second time legislation aimed at expanding the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) by $35 billion over five years exclusively funded by increases in the Federal excise tax rates on tobacco products, saying “our nation’s goal should be to move children who have no health insurance to private coverage, not to move children who already have private health insurance to government coverage.”
The revised measure secured a veto-proof margin only in the Democrat-controlled Senate, while House Republicans held enough of their members together to sustain a presidential veto. With only a few days left in the congressional session, it is not clear if Congress would schedule a veto override vote, which is expected to almost certainly fail.
At this time, it is not necessary to contact your congressmen urging opposition to the veto override. Congress will most likely pass another extension of the current SCHIP program to continue funding into the first months of 2008.
Reported by Fox News:
The House voted Tuesday to expand health insurance for children, but the Democratic-led victory may prove short-lived because the margin was too small to override President Bush’s promised veto.
Embarking on a health care debate likely to animate the 2008 elections, the House voted 265-159 to expand the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, or SCHIP, by $35 billion over five years. Bush says he will veto the bill due to its cost, its reliance on a tobacco tax increase and its potential for replacing private insurance with government grants.
The bill drew support from 45 House Republicans, many of them moderates who do not want to be depicted as indifferent to low-income children’s health needs when they seek re-election next year. But 151 Republicans sided with Bush, a move that Democrats see as a political blunder.
To overturn a presidential veto, both chambers of Congress must produce two-thirds majorities. The 265 yes votes in the House are two dozen fewer than Democrats would need to override Bush’s veto, and House leaders expect few members to switch positions.
The Senate appears poised to pass the SCHIP expansion by a large margin later this week, but a Senate bid to override a veto would be pointless if the House override effort falls short.