Friday, January 25, 2008

In Case You Missed It: Congressman Kuhl's Statement on the SCHIP Veto Override Vote

I was very busy at work yesterday, so I didn't have time to post this statement from Congressman Kuhl on the SCHIP veto override vote. IMHO, he hit the nail on the head:
Today I maintained my support for the original purpose of the State Children's Health Insurance Program – to provide health insurance to low-income children. The effort made to override this veto is needless political maneuvering and achieves nothing more than continued gridlock in Congress. In December, Congress, in bi-partisan effort, passed a bill extending SCHIP for 18 months and increased funding and resources to cover current enrollment levels without raising taxes.

This veto override vote is especially disheartening in light of last week's attempt by both parties to work together on a plan for America's faltering economy. I was optimistic that we could work together to fix our nation's problems during the remaining months of the 110th Congress. However, by choosing to delay this vote from mid-December to just days before the State of the Union Address, it is the majority who has once again shown their vested interest in political pandering at the cost of America's children.

SCHIP is a pivotal program and I am pleased that we extended the program for 18 months. There are still half a million children eligible for the SCHIP program, but not enrolled. Before we begin expanding this program to cover adults, illegal immigrants, wealthier families, and kids who already have private insurance, we must ensure that the 500,000 children who go to bed tonight without healthcare get the priority status that they deserve. No parent should have to wonder what will happen to the son or daughter if they become ill. By continuing to push for a flawed bill, the majority refuses to serve the children that the program is intended for and continue to jeopardize the health of our most vulnerable citizens.

Those who call for me to support the veto override continue to turn a blind eye to the realities of bloated and bureaucratic programs. We must create a program that actually provides underprivileged children with healthcare, and does not put them in line behind adults, wealthy children, and illegal immigrants. If those who want this bloated program feel so compelled to aid these groups, they should offer separate bills on the floor of the House of Representatives for a yes or no vote. The reality is that no member of congress would ever offer such a bill, not because they are afraid, but because they know that it is not the will of the American people to cover these individuals. Congress needs to be focusing on protecting our borders, stimulating our economy, and serving America's children, not rehashing last year's fights.

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