Supporters of a $35 billion State Children’s Health Insurance Program extension bill failed to line up 13 of the 286 House votes they needed to override a veto.
House members voted 273-156 to override a decision by President Bush to veto the bill, H.R. 976, but supporters were unable to come up with a two-thirds majority.
The failure of the veto override effort in the House means that an override resolution will not come up for a vote in the Senate.
The current SCHIP program originally was set to expire Sept. 30. A temporary measure has extended authorization for the program until Nov. 16.
House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said many Republicans voted against the veto override because they believe they “haven’t been afforded the opportunity to sit down together” to prepare a compromise bill.
“I hope that the opportunity to sit down and work together comes today after this vote,” Boehner said.
H.R. 976 would have increased SCHIP funding to $60 billion over 5 years.
At current funding levels, the program would get $25 billion.
President Bush has proposed increasing SCHIP funding by $1 billion a year for 5 years.
President Bush had argued that H.R. 976 was too expensive and would let states expand SCHIP in ways that could crowd out private insurance.
Tobacco companies were working against the bill because of bill provisions that would increased the cigarette tax to $1 per pack, from 39 cents today.
H.R. 975 critics have focused on New York’s request to use SCHIP funding to subsidize coverage for children in some families earning as much as $83,000 a year, or 400% of the federal poverty level.
New York Gov Eliot Spitzer said last week that he was willing to accept new language in the SCHIP bill that would eliminate the state’s ability to cover children at 400% of the federal poverty level.
“Of course, we’re willing to compromise,” Spitzer said during a briefing with House Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel, D-N.Y.