WASHINGTON The House of Representatives has failed for the second time in three months in an attempt to override President Bush’s veto on the children’s health insurance program, according to the Associated Press. The children’s health program serves families that earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to afford private insurance.
Democratic leaders fell 15 votes shy of obtaining the two-thirds majority vote needed for an override, the vote was 260-152. Republicans said Congress had already set aside sufficient funding to ensure that the SCHIP program would continue through March 2009 for those currently enrolled. They criticized Democrats for delaying an override vote to coincide more closely with next week’s State of the Union address from President Bush.
The legislation that Bush vetoed would have increased enrollment in the children’s health program from 6 million to 10 million over the coming five years. The revenue needed for that enrollment increase would come from a 61-cent increase in the federal excise tax on a pack of cigarettes, as well as comparable tax increases on other tobacco products.
Both sides said they were willing to sit down after the vote in an effort to reach a compromise.