S-Chip bill passes house

Published 3:00 pm Monday, October 29, 2007

By Staff
The so-called &#8220compromise” S-CHIP bill brought to the House floor late last week was filled with nothing but empty promises.
Since the first S-CHIP bill was brought to the House floor in September, many of my Republican colleagues and I have been eager to support a bill that extends and expands health coverage to American kids from low-income families - not adults, illegal immigrants, or wealthier families.
In fact, House Republicans and the Administration have expressed a strong desire to provide the necessary money to ensure adequate expansion of S-CHIP.
Sadly, now when the House has the opportunity to come together and develop a true compromise, the majority, instead, is continuing to play political games. While claiming that the &#8220compromise” bill addresses our concerns, only superficial changes have been made to the old S-CHIP bill.
The legislation passed by a vote of 265-142 - but it failed to garner enough to override a presidential veto. The Senate is scheduled to consider the bill this week, and the president has once again vowed to veto this bill - as this bill is a &#8220compromise” in name only - amounting to nothing more than a propaganda stunt aimed at fueling the belief that Republicans do not care about children.
Twenty-six members of Congress did not vote, many of whom are members of the California delegation. They had returned to their districts to help their constituents as fires continued to ravage the southern portion of the state, and the House leadership proceeded to schedule an important vote on this bill.
Regretfully, this is the same leadership team that delayed an earlier S-CHIP vote by two weeks in order to accommodate attack ads by MoveOn.org; however, when a natural disaster has burned more than 490,000 acres - an area half the size of the state of Rhode Island - and destroyed over 3,500 homes, they refused to delay the vote by even one legislative day.
Unfortunately, Speaker Pelosi and her team last week exploited the absence of these members in an attempt to pass yet another S-CHIP bill that still fails to cover poor American kids first.
Fires Continue to Ravage Southern California
At the writing of this column, fires were continuing to ravage large parts of southern California. With the largest evacuation in the state's history and 321,000 mandatory evacuees, many of us have been reminded of the horrors of Hurricane Katrina.
Late last week, the president traveled to California to see the damage first-hand. Throughout this tragedy, we have seen the strong leadership of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, and FEMA Director David Paulison.
When there is clear leadership at the state level - as we witnessed in Alabama and Mississippi in the wake of Hurricane Katrina - and agencies at all levels of government work together, we can take even a terrible tragedy and make it better.
At this difficult time, our thoughts and prayers certainly go out to all of the people of southern California.
Bonner may be reached at 1-800-288-8721 or at bonner.house.gov.

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