Another attempt to override President Bush's veto of expanding S-CHIP is on the agenda for today.
The struggling economy gives Democratic lawmakers another weapon in their effort to expand a popular children's health insurance program. In the end, however, they appear to have made little headway in overcoming a presidential veto.
In December, President Bush for a second time vetoed a bill that would more than double spending on the State Children's Health Program. Bush said the bill would encourage too many families to replace private insurance with government-subsidized health coverage. On Wednesday, the House was voting on whether to override that veto.
In recent days, Democratic lawmakers have stressed that more families will need to rely on SCHIP this year if unemployment increases.
"In a slowing economy, strengthening SCHIP and providing health care to 10 million children is sound policy, and overriding the president's veto is more critical than ever," said Nadeam Elshami, spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
The bill's $35 billion spending increase for SCHIP over five years would extend health coverage to an additional 4 million children -- up from the 6 million children the program currently covers. Lawmakers sent the president a similar bill in October, which he vetoed. Democratic leaders fell 13 votes short in their previous override effort.