Washington–The House early this afternoon approved final passage of legislation reauthorizing the State Children’s Health Insurance Plan.
President Barack Obama is set to sign the bill later in the day.
The final bill, H.R. 2, the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act, was approved by an overwhelming vote of 290-135.
The bill authorizes expenditure of $31.5 billion over 4 1/2 years to expand coverage under the current program to 11 million from 7.4 million.
The final bill was slightly smaller than the one passed by the House Jan. 14.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said last Thursday that the House would accept the abridged version passed by the Senate immediately after the Senate approved what turned out to be the final bill, 66-32.
Authorization for the current program would have run out March 31.
The new Congress revived the expanded bill after President Bush vetoed it last year. After the veto, Congress agreed to the short extension, fully aware that a new President and an expanded Democratic majority in the Congress would allow them to expand the program despite the objections of conservatives in Congress.
“What a difference a President makes,” said Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles B. Rangel, D-N.Y., after the vote. “President Obama and Congress are demonstrating that change has come to Washington, and we are moving forward to improve the quality of life for American families struggling during these hard times.”