WASHINGTON (CNN) - The newly empowered Democratic majority flexed its political muscle Wednesday as the House of Representatives voted to expand a key federal health care program to an estimated 4 million additional children.
The 290-135 vote to expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program fell largely along party lines, with almost every Democrat voting in favor of the expansion and most Republicans voting against it.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The House is expected to meet Wednesday and pass a bill that will expand healthcare to an estimated 4 million additional children.
The State Childrens Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) has already passed
Lawmakers in the House have said they too will approve the bill and send
it up to President Barack Obama for his signature.
Obama has made clear he wants to sign the bill quickly, calling it a bipartisan legislative success at a time when his economic stimulus bill is triggering a partisan divide.
"As the worsening economy causes families to lose their jobs and health insurance, it is vital that we redouble our efforts to ensure that every child in America has access to affordable health care," the president said in a statement on Friday.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama pointed Friday to a "bipartisan" legislative success, at the end of a week in which his economic stimulus bill triggered a partisan divide.
The president hailed the Senate's passage of a bill to expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) by more than $32 billion over five years.
"As the worsening economy causes families to lose their jobs and health insurance, it is vital that we redouble our efforts to ensure that every child in America has access to affordable health care," the president said in a statement.
"That is why I am pleased that the Senate has joined the House in passing bipartisan legislation to provide health insurance to children whose families have been hurt most by this downturn."
The vote in the Senate was 66-32. All those voting against the bill were Republicans, but nine Republicans voted in favor.
The bill now moves to the House. Although the House passed a similar bill earlier this month, the Senate made a change involving physician-owned hospitals, so the House will vote again.
"Next week we expect to pass that in the House and send it on to the president for his signature," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The House of Representatives passed a more modest expansion of a popular children's health insurance program Thursday, despite Republican complaints about a vote held while several members were visiting wildfire-ravaged California districts.
Even so, the 265-142 margin was short of the two-thirds margin Democrats would need to override another veto by President Bush, who killed a larger bill earlier this month.
Bush said the version he vetoed on October 3 would have encouraged families to leave the private insurance market for the federally funded, state-run program.
Rep. Stark's comments on Thursday were not the first controversial comments he has made on Capitol Hill. Dana Bash has more.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Democrats in the House of Representatives failed Thursday to come up with enough votes to override President Bush's veto of a bill that would have expanded funding for children's health insurance. But, the words of a California Democrat during the debate on the legislation have garnered arguably as much attention as the stand-off between the President and Congressional Democrats over the bill. Dana Bash reports on the reaction to comments by Rep. Peter Stark, D-California.
Related video: Congressmen talk about SCHIP
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WASHINGTON (CNN) – A new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll shows a majority of Americans want Congress to override President Bush’s veto of the State Children's Health Insurance Program, otherwise known as SCHIP.
The House will vote on Thursday on whether to override the veto. The poll shows that 61 percent of Americans want Congress to override it, while 35 percent do not.
"The bill that Bush vetoed appears to be nearly as popular among moderates as liberals,” explained CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “Conservatives are in the president's camp with only 43 percent support overriding the veto."
President Bush held a news conference Wednesday morning, and explained why he vetoed the bill saying the White House was not engaged in developing the bill, “we weren't dialed in. And I don't know why. But they just ran the bill and I made it clear we weren't going to accept it.”
The program provides health insurance to children in families with incomes too great for Medicaid eligibility, but not enough to afford private insurance.
The Bush administration has decried the spending increase primarily supported by Democrats as unnecessarily subsidizing middle-income people as part of Democrats' "goal of government-run health care for every American."
The poll was conducted on October 12-14, 2007 with a sample size of 1,212 adult Americans and a margin of error of +/- 3 points.
– CNN Political Producer Xuan Thai
Watch Jessica Yellin's report about Democratic efforts to override the veto of the SCHIP bill.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - It was a busy day on Capitol Hill in the political and public relations battle over a bill funding kids' health insurance which President Bush recently vetoed. Congressional Correspondent Jessica Yellin reports.
Democratic members of Congress applaud shortly after signing legislation for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) legislation
WASHINGTON (CNN) - As House members are at home for the Columbus Day weekend, a coalition of labor and advocacy groups, including the AFL-CIO and MoveOn.org, is stepping up the battle over the federal children's health-care program, known as SCHIP. The coalition rolled out a nearly $1 million television ad campaign and is targeting about 20 Republicans to vote to override the president's veto of the bill.
The national ad, sponsored by Americans United for Change, an umbrella group of liberal organizations, is running on cable networks. It includes images of a baby and other children with an announcer saying "George Bush just vetoed Abby." The coalition also promises to rally activists in districts of another 20 House Republicans over the next two weeks.
This push by Democratic groups comes on top of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's efforts to zero in on eight House Republicans who opposed the bill. The campaign arm started running radio ads and funding automated calls to voters last week in districts it considers competitive for Democratic challengers.
– CNN Congressional Producer Dierdre Walsh
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
Watch Dana Bash's report about what Congress is doing to respond to President Bush's veto.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Dana Bash reports on the Congressional response to President Bush's veto of the SCHIP bill. The legislation would have expanded federal funding for childrens' health insurance coverage and it had bipartisan support - though not currently enough support to pass the bill over Wednesday's veto.
More: Democrats begin to push to override veto of kids health insurance bill