President Bush, in a confrontation with Congress, today vetoed a bipartisan bill that would have dramatically expanded children's health insurance.
It was only the fourth veto of Bush's presidency, and one that some Republicans feared could carry steep risks for their party in next year's elections. The Senate approved the bill with enough votes to override the veto, but the margin in the House fell short of the required number.
The White House sought as little attention as possible, with the president wielding his veto behind closed doors without any fanfare or news coverage.
Eighteen Republicans joined Democrats in the Senate, enough to override Bush's veto. But this was not the case in the House, where despite sizable Republican support, supporters of the bill are about two dozen votes short of a successful override.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said Democrats were imploring 15 House Republicans to switch positions but had received no agreements so far.
Senate Minority Whip Trent Lott, R-Miss., said Congress should be able to reach a compromise with Bush once he vetoes the bill. "We should not allow it to be expanded to higher and higher income levels, and to adults. This is about poor children," he said. "But we can work it out."
The only viable option is an override. Failing that, I hope the Democrats take Chuck Grassley's advice. That's pretty much all there is to it.
UPDATE: Seventy-two percent of people polled support the S-CHIP bill that Bush just vetoed. Burka makes the same point about Bush being ashamed of his veto. BOR points out the near unanimity of Texas Republicans' opposition to S-CHIP.Posted by Charles Kuffner on October 03, 2007 to Budget ballyhoo