*UPDATE* The bill passed 265-142, which is still short of the two-thirds majority needed to override a veto. I bet $20 billion is sounding pretty good about now.
Remember that children’s health care bill that our commander-in-chief vetoed and then the House failed to overturn? Well, it’s baaaaack. Not much has changed. It’s still going to increase spending on the program by $35 billion, cover 10 million children and raise tobacco taxes to $1. However, the new bill would:
tighten eligibility for the program, generally barring the use of federal money to cover illegal immigrants, childless adults and children of families with incomes exceeding three times the poverty level or $61,950 for a family of four.
Great. Perfect. I’m happy for the kids, I really am, but I think it’s very telling that the article begins with “sensing a political advantage, Democrats were trying today to win passage of a new health care bill for children, knowing that President Bush plans to veto it.” Really, isn’t that what this is about? Who else feels like this bill is just another way for Democrats to stamp their feet at the administration? While it’s great that children are going to benefit from this bill (should it actually pass this time), I can’t help but feel this “us against them” mentality isn’t the most efficient or responsible way to run a government. The article claims that a compromise actually was offered to the bill:
Mr. Leavitt said the administration was willing to accept a $20 billion increase in spending on the program over the next five years. That is halfway between the $5 billion increase proposed by Mr. Bush and the $35 billion increase in the bill passed with bipartisan support in both houses of Congress.
But, you know, why compromise in the interest of guaranteeing that the bill would pass and cooperatively working together when you can just repeatedly ram slightly modified versions of the same legislation through Congress? I love democracy.
House to Vote on New Child Health Bill – [New York Times]