Playing fire with S-CHIP; Update: Pete Stark takes the floor!; Update: A vote against S-CHIP is a vote against Jesus!; Update: S-CHIP passes under new veto threat
Update 5:45pm Eastern 10/25. S-CHIP passes, 265-142. The vote did not clear the two-thirds, veto-proof hurdle. Wire dispatch:
The House passed a revised children’s health proposal Thursday, but not by the two-thirds margin that supporters will need if President Bush vetoes the measure as promised. The 265-142 vote was a victory for Bush and his allies, who urged House Republicans to reject Democrats’ claims that changes to the legislation had met their chief concerns. If the same vote occurs on a veto override attempt, Bush will prevail, as he did earlier this month when he vetoed a similar bill. The tally was seven votes short of a two-thirds majority. Several House members were absent. Liberal groups continue to run attack ads against Republicans siding with Bush on the issue, which many Democrats consider a winner for their party.
Rep. Blunt’s statement:
House Republican Whip Roy Blunt (Mo.) issued the following statement today after Democrats attempted once again to use a children’s health program created by Republicans to expand taxpayer-funded care to people who are neither children nor poor – and in some cases, not even in this country legally:
“Many of us had hoped the majority would take our concerns to heart and come back with an SCHIP bill that extends quality health care to poor kids first. Instead, we got a hastily assembled bill that few of us were given an adequate chance to read – resulting in a final product that addresses none of the serious issues that have plagued the Democrats’ plan from the outset.
“The majority insists this is a bill about children’s health, but the plan we have before us would allow adults to remain eligible. The majority insists the bill was crafted with the interests of poor kids in mind, but it was written in a way that ensures families making as much as $73,000 remain on the rolls. And the majority insists that those here illegally would no longer be in a position to collect taxpayer-funded benefits, but the Social Security Administration has been clear that they will.
“If this bill truly represented a genuine compromise, we would’ve been given more than a couple hours to read it. As it is, we voted on legislation today that will never become law. And because of that, we missed yet another opportunity to send the president a bill that’s committed to insuring poor kids first.”
4:47pm Eastern 10/25 update. A very articulate caller on C-SPAN’s Republican line is talking about the Frost family and countering the charges that conservatives “attacked the child.”
Interestingly, the Democrats again did not mention the Frost family during the debate today.
4:41pm Eastern 10/25 update. A caller to C-SPAN just yelled that anyone who votes against S-CHIP is “voting against Jesus himself!”
4:07pm Eastern 10/25 update. Looks like some more procedural gamesmanship is underway. A motion to recommit the bill.
3:52pm Eastern 10/25 update. Oh, crikey. Rahm Emanuel repeated his anecdote about his constituent Dolores Sweeney and her children who are on S-CHIP as an argument to vastly expand S-CHIP. Hello? They’re already covered. They’re already covered. They’re already covered. They’re already covered.
3:46pm Eastern 10/25 update. Republican leader John Boehner: “This is about playing a political game. You know it and I know it. Everyone knows this is nothing more than a political game.”
3:25pm Eastern 10/25 update. Roy Blunt: “Why are we having this vote today?” And “why weren’t we allowed to see the bill, if this is such a great bill?”
2:45pm Eastern 10/25 update. Uh-oh. Pete Stark is on the floor speaking for the S-CHIP bill. I think he took some sedatives this time. And he’s sticking to a staff-written script. Too funny: Stark ends urging “compassion” and “humane treatment.”
Just for fun. Stark on the House floor the last time he spoke up for the massive S-CHIP expansion:
1:52pm Eastern. After an hour of debate, there’s another procedural vote. It’s being reported that Republicans are trying to delay the actual S-CHIP vote until Monday through procedural maneuvers. It’s gonna be a long afternoon.
1:45pm Eastern 10/25 update. Several GOP members endorse HR 3888, the GOP S-CHIP alternative. Here’s GOP Rep. Tom Price’s description:
The More Children, More Choices Act, H.R. 3888, fully funds and reauthorizes SCHIP to cover children in households with annual income up to $43,000 — the original intent. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that $8.5 billion in new spending is needed to ensure that all children in the current program are covered. H.R. 3888 responsibly provides these needed funds, plus an additional $3 billion for outreach to find children who are currently eligible but not enrolled in the program — all without a tax increase! Rather than providing bureaucratic, government-run health care for those in middle-income homes, this reauthorization keeps SCHIP focused on needy kids first.
SCHIP is not the answer to those children who are uninsured but do not qualify for the program. Rather than bluntly expanding the program, The More Children, More Choices Act provides premium assistance for the purchase of private, personal coverage for children in households with annual income up to $63,000. This proposal will reach the same number of children as the Democrat plan, without expanding government-run health care. Instead of pulling children off personal insurance for the government program, as the Democrat bill would do, this legislation would preserve current coverage while expanding the purchase of personal insurance for millions more children.
Our health care crisis is undoubtedly not confined to our nation’s youth. We must provide access to health care coverage for all Americans. A third important component of H.R. 3888 would provide incentives for health care coverage to the uninsured through state initiatives. The program offers grants and promotes innovation and flexibility from federal regulation, allowing states to use a combination of ideas that best meets their specific needs.
1:37pm Eastern 10/25 update. Sheila Jackson Lee: “WE WILL STAND FOR THE CHILDREN!!!!”
1:31pm Eastern 10/25 update. Very interesting. Media Matters is lobbying aggressively for this S-CHIP effort. The group’s Karl Frisch sent out a mass e-mail attacking news outlets from Fox to the Washington Times to MSNBC, CNN, and the New York Times for reporting the Republicans’ side of the debate.
Next up: Media Matters sends out an Important Action Alert about the corporate greed and health insurance corruption in the WellCare scandal. Oh, no. Wait. Never mind.
1:20pm Eastern 10/25 update. GOP Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite calls the S-CHIP bill an illegal alien magnet and lambastes the cigarette tax-funding mechanism.
GOP Rep. Mike Rogers says “Read the bill.” Changes are worse, not better. “If you want to stand for kids and not behind them, we need to reject this rule.” Proof of citizenship not required.
1:00pm Eastern 10/25 update. Let me sum up Nancy Pelosi’s S-CHIP statement. The March of Dimes supports the S-CHIP expansion. HOW CAN YOU OPPOSE THE MARCH OF DIMES?!?!?!
Pelosi: “I hope our colleagues will be thinking about the children…This legislation makes good economic sense and good national security sense.”
12:16pm Eastern 10/25 update. We are now on the third motion to adjourn.
11:55am Eastern 10/25 update. Looks like the motion failed. Now, there’s a motion to reconsider the vote. There’s a request for a recorded vote. Things are getting testy on the floor.
11:34am Eastern 10/25 update. Rep. Louise Slaughter whines that the objections are “not about point of order…It’s because the White House doesn’t want to give health insurance to 10 million children.”
THEY HATE THE CHILLLLLLDREN!!!!!
And now, we move to a third resolution on whether the House will move to debate.
11:19am Eastern 10/25 update. The second motion to adjourn failed. On to the S-CHIP debate.Well, not quite yet. GOP Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas makes a point of order that the S-CHIP bill violates a Congressional Budget Act rule as an unfunded mandate.
10:57am Eastern 10/25 update. There’s a motion to adjourn. An earlier motion to adjourn failed.
Meanwhile, Don Surber notes that “While Democrats have demagogued the SCHIP bill, the leaders of the Democratic Congress have let the health care of active duty soldiers and their families go unfunded.”
10:41am Eastern 10/25 update. Here we go. GOP Rep. Pete Sessions is pointing out to Majority Leader Steny Hoyer that several California House members are not present because of the wildfires and asks him to address the refusal to postpone the S-CHIP vote. Hoyer says the vote won’t be affected. Rep. Sessions resubmits request to postpone. Republicans have not had time to go through the bill. “This is a collegial request from the Republicans in this body who recognize the importance of S-CHIP…I am respectfully asking on behalf of the minority…to please reconsider allowing us to end our business today and take up this business on Tuesday…”
Rep. Heather Wilson, a GOP member who supports massive S-CHIP expansion, points out that 55 members were absent for last vote. “The issue is important to people on both sides of the aisle…I am reluctant to [move forward] with so many members gone.”
Rep. Gene Taylor dismisses the notion of “shutting down Congress.” Rep. Sessions says it’s not about “shutting down Congress.” Just wants a delay until next week.
10:00am Eastern 10/25 update. The House is in session. Stay tuned for liveblogging of the S-CHIP debate. Tantrum. Whatever you want to call this latest Dem stunt.
S-CHIP is baaaack. Politico reports:
Democrats huddled behind closed doors in the Capitol basement Wednesday for the unveiling of another children’s health bill they believe will win enough votes to override a White House veto.
Last week, Democrats were 13 votes short of overriding President Bush’s veto of the $35 billion expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program bill, which would extend health benefits to 10 million uninsured children.
Republican whip Roy Blunt sends an e-mail calling foul on the timing of the vote, to be held while many California House members are home, responding to wildfires. Also take note that the Republicans have not been able to see the new bill:
House Republican Whip Roy Blunt (Mo.) issued the following statement today after House Democrats announced they plan to push through controversial SCHIP legislation tomorrow while a number of members from southern California are back in their districts responding to the wildfires:
“The scope, scale and severity of the fires raging in southern California are of a magnitude few of us have ever seen. What’s important right now is that members from the area be given the chance to return to their districts to aid their constituents in any way they can – whether through casework, disaster relief efforts, or simply lending a hand to a neighbor in need.
“Unfortunately, the speaker announced plans today to hold an important, and contentious, vote on SCHIP while these members are confronting serious issues at home – disenfranchising, in effect, a large segment of the most populous state in the union, and throwing into doubt the integrity of the vote.
“In light of these circumstances, I would urge the speaker to reconsider her strategy and delay the vote on her SCHIP bill until a time when the interests of millions of Americans in southern California can be accurately represented. Maybe in that time Democrats will also actually consider making a copy of the bill available to Republicans.”
What’s the Frost family up to? Snowing over MSM propaganda tools and lobbying for government-subsidized adult health insurance.
Watch your wallet: The Bush administration is ready to compromise.
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