Senate approves new version of SCHIP

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The U.S. Senate on Thursday approved (64-30) the new version of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) bill that was vetoed by President Bush earlier this fall.

The U.S. House of Representatives also passed this version of the bill, but without a veto-proof majority. The current version would limit coverage to children in families with annual incomes below 300 percent of the federal poverty level. 

Bush has also promised to veto the current bill because it includes a tax hike on cigarettes, which is meant to help pay for the $35 billion program.

After the Senate passed the bill, the White House issued a press statement that the new version has “major flaws” and that “Congress has known for weeks that the President would veto this bill.” 

The Des Moines Register reported that Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said that the White House is "throwing cold water in [his] face" by objecting to the SCHIP bill because it uses a cigarette tax increase as a funding mechanism. Grassley said that “this is the first time it's come to my attention that this tax issue is an issue with the White House.”