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Senate passes S-CHIP

Off to the President.

The U.S. Senate Thursday gave final legislative approval to the expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.

President George W. Bush has promised to veto the measure, which would add $35 billion to the program, generally referred to as S-CHIP, during the next five years.

The bill passed the Senate by 67 to 29, enough to override a veto, The Washington Post reported. A number of Republicans crossed party lines to vote with the Democratic majority.

The House approved the legislation Tuesday, but by a smaller margin, 265 to 159.

Much of the Republican support Thursday came from legislators who face strong re-election challenges next year. Even some conservatives, like Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kansas., jumped ship and asked Bush to reconsider his veto threat.

“Anyone who votes in lock step with the president and against children’s health, they are going to hear about it back home,” said Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., chairman of his party’s congressional campaign committee.

The earlier vote to suspend debate was 69-30 in favor, so there may be even a little more support for S-CHIP in the Senate than that vote suggests. I don’t know if they’ll go whole hog and override the veto, but they might.

Here’s a roll call of the vote. Do I need to tell you how John Cornyn voted? At least Kay Bailey Hutchison did the right thing. I’ll let Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts, nobody’s idea of a liberal, address the issue of the upcoming veto:

“The administration is threatening to veto this bill because of ‘excessive spending’ and their belief that this bill is a step toward federalization of healthcare,” said Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), a supporter of the plan. “I am not for excessive spending and strongly oppose the federalization of healthcare. And if the administration’s concerns with this bill were accurate, I would support a veto. But, bluntly put, they are not.”

And John Cornyn is right there with them. He’ll be there with them till the bitter end. For more on this folly, see the EPI’s analysis of why CHIP is needed.

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  1. RedScare says:

    Apparently, Senator Cornyn thinks he is abiding the wishes of his constituents. After all, doesn’t Texas lead the country in uninsured children? Maybe he thinks we LIKE that sort of thing around here.

  2. Dennis says:

    He is about at 50% in the early polling, believe it or not. I’m surprised he is that high, considering his unwavering support for George W. Bush, the war and the entire agenda of the wacko Radical Right.

    Proof once again that most Texas voters apparently aren’t paying attention or just don’t give a damn.