Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Bush: “Let the little children suffer.”

with one comment

Bush has vetoed SCHIP for second time, even though the bill was rewritten to overcome his previous objections. The story, from an email from the Center for American Progress Action Fund:

For the second time in three months, President Bush yesterday vetoed bipartisan legislation that “would have expanded the State Children’s Health Insurance (SCHIP) program “by $35 billion over five years and would have boosted its enrollment to about 10 million children.” It was the seventh veto of Bush’s presidency and the second veto of a children’s health bill. In an October press conference, Bush explained that he will continue vetoing bills simply to “ensure that I am relevant. That’s one way to ensure that I’m in the process.” Similar to his last rejection of SCHIP two months ago, Bush vetoed the bill yesterday “in private.” Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) responded, “This is indeed a sad action for him to take, because so many children in our country need access to quality health care.” “In case there was any doubt that President Bush’s priorities could not be farther from those of the American people, he has vetoed yet another bipartisan bill to renew the successful [State] Children’s Health Insurance Program,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said yesterday, adding, “We will not rest until the President joins us.”

Last October, after vetoing the first version of SCHIP legislation, Bush complained that the White House had been left out of negotiations and was not “dialed in in the beginning.” “I’m surprised I hadn’t been asked about SCHIP,” Bush said. But “telephone logs and e-mail messages show that Republican senators and their aides had frequently consulted White House officials as the bill took shape.” After checking their calendars, lawmakers said that they and their aides had “more than 35 meetings and telephone conversations” on the issue with the White House. While the SCHIP bill “has changed substantially,” Bush’s criticism “has not, and this frustrates lawmakers like Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) who said the president had been ‘given some pretty bad advice‘ by his staff.” After the House sustained Bush’s veto two months ago, Press Secretary Dana Perino celebrated it as a victory, proclaiming, “We won this round on SCHIP.”

PLAYING POLITICS: After Bush vetoed the SCHIP legislation in early October, he argued, “When it comes to SCHIP, we should be guided by a clear principle: Put poor children first.” By all accounts, SCHIP has been successful in accomplishing this mission. Since 2000, while 6.8 million people lost health coverage, “SCHIP and Medicaid ensured that the proportion of low-income children without health insurance actually declined during this period, from 20 percent in 2000 to 14 percent in 2005.” The second version of SCHIP that Congress passed sought to address Bush’s major concern about the bill “by capping eligibility at 300 percent of the federal poverty line — slightly more than $60,000 for a family of four.” Yet Bush trotted out the same excuse yesterday for vetoing the popular and successful health insurance program. “This bill does not put poor children first,” he said, “and it moves our country’s health care system in the wrong direction.” The administration apparently views the confrontation over SCHIP as “making for good politics.” The New York Times reported, “The White House, convinced that Republicans lost Congressional seats last year because the public was fed up with government spending, calculates that Mr. Bush will please fiscal conservatives by drawing the line against a big expansion of the program.”

WHAT’S NEXT: Authorization for SCHIP expired on Sept. 30 and has twice been extended by continuing resolutions passed by Congress to keep the federal government operating.But the second extension is due to expire on Dec. 14, and no one is sure what will happen next.” The fate of this critical program “remains undecided,” as lawmakers negotiate a new five-year funding package that can win Bush’s approval or draw a veto-proof majority in the House and Senate. If Congress cannot win over Bush’s support, leaders from both parties are expected to “pass a one-year extension of the program” with the aim of including “enough money in the measure to maintain current levels of enrollment, estimated at 6.6 million children.” While campaigning in 2004, Bush pledged, “In a new term, we will lead an aggressive effort to enroll millions of poor children who are eligible but not signed up for the government’s health insurance programs.” Now, Bush has become the one man standing between 10 million low-income children and their health insurance.

Written by Leisureguy

13 December 2007 at 10:55 am

One Response

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  1. This is such a shame. Bush does not want to invest in children’s future. Our medicaid is so inadequate to take of our children’s needs. What we don’t need is a war in Iraq. Our children do need health insurance and dental insurance. How will we ever get this across to Bush? A million dollar question indeed!


    Shawn Easton

    16 December 2007 at 4:39 am

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