Date registered: Sep 2004
Vehicle: 83 Astral Silver 280 SL
Location: Planet Houston
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Republican Party's newest "insurgents": America's poor kids
Bush vetoes expansion of kids' health insurance
NEW: Democrats take to House floor to criticize President Bush's veto
President nixes bill before trip to Pennsylvania to discuss budget
Legislation would double State Children's Health Insurance Program
Margin in Senate enough for override; House lacks two-thirds majority needed
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush on Wednesday vetoed legislation expanding a children's health insurance program by $35 billion over five years.
Kids pull wagons full of petitions this week asking President Bush not to veto insurance legislation.
Bush exercised the veto at 10 a.m. ET before leaving the White House for a trip to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, to discuss the federal budget and taxes.
Democrats quickly took to the floor of the House of Representatives to condemn the veto of the bill that received bipartisan support.
"The president has rediscovered his long lost inner fiscally conservative self," said Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Oregon, in a mocking tone. "After an orgy of borrowing, spending and misspending on many dubious things, his target? Ten million low-income kids."
House Democrats also were quick to compare the bill's $7 billion cost to the money spent each month on the Iraq war.
"The president and Republicans in Congress say that we can't afford this bill, but where were the fiscal conservatives when the president demanded hundreds of billions of dollars for the war in Iraq?" asked Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Illinois.
Some House Republicans, however, said Bush was right to veto the bill.
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"The public can see that we're playing more political 'gotcha' than we are at really solving problems," said Rep. Todd Akin, R-Missouri, who said the legislation contained "all of these little hidden gizmos, among other things that we're going to provide health care to the children of illegal immigrants."
Akin also said the bill would have led to "a massive expansion of, basically, 'Hillary' socialized medicine," a reference to Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York and her unsuccessful health care efforts as first lady in the 1990s.
Congress sent the legislation on the State Children's Health Insurance Program, or SCHIP, to the White House on Tuesday.
The Senate voted 67-29 Thursday to expand the program. Bush has said it's a step toward universal coverage.
It appears Congress lacks the votes to overturn Bush's veto. Though 67 votes in the 100-person Senate would suffice to override a veto, the 265-159 vote on September 25 in the House is short of the two-thirds majority needed.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, said Tuesday that he won't schedule an override vote on SCHIP until next week or later. There is no time limit in the House of Representatives on when to bring the bill up again.
Under the legislation, the program would double -- from 4 million to 8 million -- the number of children covered.
In the Senate, 18 Republicans joined all of the Democrats in voting to expand the program from its annual budget of $5 billion to $12 billion for the next five years.
Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah was among those Republicans who split from the president. "It's very difficult for me to be against a man I care so much for," he told his colleagues on the Senate floor before the vote. "It's unfortunate that the president has chosen to be on what, to me, is clearly the wrong side of this issue."
A Washington Post-ABC News poll conducted September 27-30 found 72 percent of those surveyed support an increase in spending on the program, with 25 percent opposed. The poll's margin of error was 3 percentage points.
Bush and many Republicans contend the program's original intent would be changed under the bill.
The program gives coverage to parents who make too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to buy private insurance for their children. Critics have said their concern is that parents might be prompted to drop private coverage for their children to get cheaper coverage under the bill.
The veto is the fourth of Bush's presidency. After not using his veto power at all during his first four years, the president has vetoed three other bills in his second term: two on stem-cell research legislation and one on a war funding bill with a Democratic timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq.
Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.
-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address