Rep. Jim Clyburn said overriding President Bush's veto of the SCHIP bill will be "tough."
COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) – The Democratic House Majority Whip conceded Friday that getting the votes to override President Bush's veto of the State Children's Health Insurance Program bill will be an uphill battle.
"Well, it's going to be tough to do that," said South Carolina congressman Jim Clyburn in an interview with CNN at his office in Columbia. "We got 265 votes for SCHIP, 45 of those votes were Republican votes. They get to a veto, we have to have 290 votes. It will be very very tough to get 290 votes. I think that, a lot of people think that, 45-50 may be the high water mark on the Republican side.
"And if the White House were to weigh in and say we really want this veto sustained, I think that some of that 45, two or three of them may fall off and not vote to override," he said. "I just believe that you got to make the effort and do it one vote at a time."
Clyburn suggested the current bill was "messed up" because it was crafted for easier passage in the Senate. He said if the current veto is maintained, his party should write another "Democratic bill" and send it back to the Senate to face a filibuster.
"But let's do a bill, a bill that we are proud of, and let's send it to the Senate," Clyburn said. "And let's say to them, go ahead, filibuster. Our base will understand what a filibuster is, the American people will understand what a filibuster is. They don't understand this 60 vote rule business. But they remember which party filibustered against all the civil rights bills back in the 50's and 60's, and to have that same party stand up there are start filibustering against health care for children? Man, I would love that picture."
– CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby