January 30th, 2009
09:35 AM ET
9 years ago

Obama trumpets 'bipartisan' success

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/30/art.bobiden0130.gi.jpg caption="Pres. Obama issued a statement about the recent passage of a children's health insurance bill in the Senate."]
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.

The president has made clear he wants to sign the bill quickly. After the House passed its version earlier this month, then-President-elect Obama issued a statement saying, "I hope that the Senate acts with the same sense of urgency so that it can be one of the first measures I sign into law."

SCHIP covers more than 6 million children whose parents earn too much to qualify for Medicaid - the federal health insurance program for the poor - but who can't afford private insurance.

The bill's supporters say it would extend the program to an estimated 4 million additional children, paying for it with a 61-cent-per-pack increase in the federal tax on cigarettes.

Opponents argued that, among other things, it will allow undocumented immigrants to illegally access taxpayer-financed healthcare, and is insufficiently funded.

President Bush vetoed two similar bills in 2007, arguing at the time that the legislation would have encouraged families to leave the private insurance market for the federally funded, state-run program.

Filed under: President Obama • SCHIP
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. cmoore

    Give me a break. Bipartisan? ha ha ha ha he he he he

    January 30, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  2. southerncousin

    Nancy Pelosi told him it was a bi partisan success and that he had better not look in to it.

    January 30, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  3. janet, ohio

    Why does Obama always have his head tilted back? (Unless he's reading a speech or a teleprompter) Talk about a guy with his nose in the air! ( I WON! HA!)

    January 30, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  4. Ken Sawyer

    If everyone quit smoking the people will live longer and put extra burdens on the health system and social security. It is a wash anyhow when you socialize every thing in the goverment. Ask Russia about socialism better known as Communism there. Tax the hell out of the weeds.I want to live long enough to get my incentive check even if it will take 4 years. Probably will hold it that long so they can use it as a carrot as the Dems did this time to get elected.

    January 30, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  5. ACFX

    Why does only the side that go it their way claim bipartisan success?

    January 30, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  6. NY republican

    Why are we NOT hearing about the Democrats that voted NO on the "stimulus" plan?

    January 30, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |