House Can't Override SCHIP Veto

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House Can't Override SCHIP Veto

WASHINGTON -- The House failed to override President Bush's Oct. 3 veto on the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) yesterday, which called for a 61-cent increase in the federal excise tax on tobacco to cover an additional 10 million uninsured children, The New York Times reported.

The House voted to override the veto, but only saw a 273-to-156 vote, 13 short of the two-thirds majority needed to overcome a presidential veto, the report stated.

The White House reported President Bush was pleased with the result. "As it is clear that this legislation lacks sufficient support to become law, now is the time for Congress to stop playing politics and to join the president in finding common ground to reauthorize this vital program," Dana Perino, Bush’' spokeswoman, told the Times.

"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," Democratic Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, said after the defeat. "While we appreciate those who voted to override his veto, there unfortunately remain too many who are all too willing to rubber-stamp President Bush's shameful policies and succumb to his misinformation campaign."

Democrats in Congress stated that they would pass a new bill, and were willing to adjust it to address some White House concerns, according to the report. If Bush vetoes a second version of the bill, Democrats stated they will send him a third version just before Election Day 2008, the Times reported.

When Bush vetoed the bill on Oct. 3, he said he was open to compromise, and proposed to increase spending by $5 billion over the next five years. The vetoed bill, agreed upon by Congress, called for a $35 billion expansion over the same time, the report stated.