Republican senators are panning reports suggesting that President Bush would veto the State Children’s Health Insurance Program reauthorization bill now making its way through the Senate Finance Committee.
Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, the most senior Republican on the committee, and Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, the most senior Republican on the committee’s health subcommittee, have put out a memorandum warning that the Bush administration SCHIP veto threats could hurt children and inadvertently help Democrats in Congress make SCHIP much bigger and much more expensive.
SCHIP now costs about $5 billion per year.
“It’s disappointing, even a little unbelievable, to hear talk about administration officials wanting a veto of a legislative proposal they haven’t even seen yet — because it isn’t even finalized yet,” Grassley and Hatch say in the memorandum.
Republicans are working with Democrats on the proposal day and night, because reauthorizing the program is so important to helping children, Grassley and Hatch say.
Grassley and Hatch say they want Democrats to keep childless adults out of the program, re-focus the program on low-income children, and hold any increase in funding to $35 billion over 5 years.