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Monday, October 29, 2007

Refitted SCHIP will fail to Sail

The House of Representatives on October 25, 2007 with a 265-142 vote passed a revised SCHIP bill. Several dozen congressmen did not even vote and the House is once again short of the votes needed to override a certain veto by President George W. Bush.

Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Senate Majority Leader said he will schedule a vote this week by the Senate on the bill. It is most likely to be passed once again in the Senate with a veto-proof margin.

So what is going on? It seems concessions to Republican stated concerns were made in the revised bill presented in the House. A change i n eligibility for family size was reduced from a high of approximately $80,000 to $60,000, a statement to the effect that illegal immigrants would not be served by this program was added, as well as clarification that this was a bill to serve children and not adults.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calf.) has been quoted as saying that if this bill does not pass she will wait until next year to schedule another vote which will push it even closer to the 2008 elections. Obviously a statement meant to put Republicans who voted against the bill on notice they will have to vote again on it even closer to the time when they will be asking voters for their support in their own reelection.

Unfortunatel y, this bill will suffer the same fate as it's predecessor.

There is obviously a lot of politics in action here. Democratic leadership knows the polling data clearly shows a majority of Americans support SCHIP and it's purpose of providing health care for children. While Democrats have made some substantive changes to address some Republican concerns, they are still advocating a substantial increase in funding over what the President had proposed.

Republican leaders realize that although the President's approval ratings are extreme low, the Democratic controlled congress approval rating is even lower and they appear willing to draw a line in the sand on this issue. Their only possible explanation for their action is they will attempt to point fingers at an ineffective Democratic controlled congress and try to tell voters it's time to make a change in next year's election.

Standing in the way of providing health care for our children is simply wrong. We can and must do better in providing health care for our children and all Americans.

What will be remembered by the voters in the fall of 2008 are the Republicans who voted against this legislation.

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