Bush Completes SCHIP Veto Promise

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Bush Completes SCHIP Veto Promise

WEST HEMPFIELD TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- Earlier this week, President Bush went through with his previous promises of vetoing the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) bill, which would have expanded government health insurance for children, only to later say he is open to compromise by spending more money on the program than his budget has proposed, The New York Times reported.

"I do want Republicans and Democrats to come together to support a bill that focuses on the poor children," Bush told a group of business people at a town-hall-style meeting here in Pennsylvania Dutch Country, the Times reported.

He added: "And if they need a little more money to help us meet the objective of getting help for poorer children, I'm more than willing to sit down with the leaders and find a way to do so."

While Bush did not specify a figure, his plan was to spend $5 billion more on the program during the next five years, which falls short of the $35 billion expansion that passed in Congress, the report stated.
However, some members of Congress want to overturn the veto.
"We've got to do what we can to try to override," Sen. Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the senior Republican on the Finance Committee and the bill’s lead Republican sponsor, told the Times. Grassley had personally appealed to the president not to veto the measure, the report stated.

While there are enough votes to override the veto in the Senate, there is not enough in the House. On Wednesday, House Democrats forced a vote to postpone the override until Oct. 18, giving them two weeks to shore up the votes needed. Grassley told the Times he intended to personally appeal to House members who could provide votes to go against the president's veto.

Democrats have already stated they gained two more supporters in the House -- Rep. Dan Boren (D-Okla.), and Rep. Bobby Jindal (R-La.), according to the report.

Meanwhile, Republicans were confident they would uphold the president’s veto and explain their position, the report stated.
"The funding is not going to low-income children," Rep. Jim McCrery of Louisiana, a party point man on the issue, told the Times.
The veto -- the fourth of Bush's presidency -- was issued in private Wednesday morning, the report stated. Bush then traveled to Pennsylvania to defend his veto directly to the American people through a nationally televised discussion with the local Chamber of Commerce group.

Bush argued the expansion was too costly and would push people who could afford private insurance onto the government's program, the report stated.