The U.S. House of Representatives failed today to override President Bush's veto of the bipartisan effort to reauthorize and expand the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) to cover 10 million people.
The vote to override the veto was 273 to 156, 13 votes short of the necessary two-thirds majority of those present and voting to enact into law despite the President’s objections. The House originally approved the bill by a 265 to 159 vote on Sept. 25. The approval included 45 Republicans voting in favor of the legislation, while today only 44 Republicans opposed the President's veto.
According to an official statement on his website, Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, D-Nev., said “each Republican who voted to uphold President Bush’s heartless veto should be embarrassed that he chose to stand in the way of improving the lives of millions of America’s poorest children. While we appreciate those who voted to override his veto, there unfortunately remain too many who are all too willing to rubberstamp President Bush’s shameful policies and succumb to his misinformation campaign.”
The New York Times reported that Representative Judy Biggert, R-Ill., said the next step is “to get back to the drawing board and fix the bill.”
Yet, the House Democrats seem determined to not allow the current bill to be pushed under the rug. “As we move forward, I share the commitment of my partners in this compromise that we must not abandon any of the uninsured children we would have covered with the bipartisan legislation already passed by Congress,” said Reid.
In a recent CBS News telephone poll of 1282 adults, 81 percent favor expanding the current SCHIP bill, while 15 percent oppose it. Also, of those respondents who favor expansion, 74 percent are willing to pay more taxes in order to expand the SCHIP bill.
Next, Democrats and Republicans could compromise on a new funding level. Bush has said he's willing to sign a bill that includes a higher expansion than his $5 billion proposal.
The current funding extension for SCHIP expires in mid-November.