House Democrats asked Thursday why they have to find spending cuts and revenue sources to pay for reauthorizing the Children’s Health Insurance Program when House Republicans are not yet requiring “pay fors” for their tax reform effort.
Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., blasted House Republican leaders of budget discipline hypocrisy at a House Energy and Commerce Committee meeting. The committee was getting ready to polish and vote on H.R. 3921, the House Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization bill. Authorization for CHIP expired Saturday.
House Republican leaders have forced the CHIP reauthorization drafters to scrounge for CHIP reauthorization pay-fors, “while we have this looming debate over tax reform, none of which is paid for,” Pallone said. “Republicans go back and forth on this all the time.”
Republicans on the committee talked a little about their own frustration with the search for pay-fors, and the need to defend good pay-for ideas from colleagues.
Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., pointed out that his team has been somewhat cautious this time around about revealing CHIP reauthorization pay-for proposals, because, in the past, CHIP pay-for transparency has backfired.
When the House came up with CHIP pay-fors the last time around, “the Senate then stole our pay-fors,” Upton recalled.
Members of the committee ended up voting 28-23 to advance H.R. 3921.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee is just one of way two House committees that has jurisdiction over H.R. 3921.
The House Ways and Means Committee also has jurisdiction over the bill. Ways & Means has not yet scheduled a meeting on the bill.