The line was drawn in the sand today… Bush followed through with his threat to veto State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), “in a sharp confrontation with Congress.”
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.
Democrats unleashed a stream of harsh rhetoric, as they geared up for a battle to both improve their chances of winning a veto override and score political points against Republicans who oppose the expansion.
Sen. John Kerry issued the following statement today, in the wake of Bush’s veto of the legislation that reauthorizes and extends the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). The legislation was passed by both the House and Senate with a broad bi-partisan majority, and John Kerry pushed aggressively for additional SCHIP funds during the Senate Finance Committee’s development of the plan. He was vowed to work hard to overturn the veto:
“Today with a single stroke of his veto pen, President Bush single-handedly jeopardized health care for millions of poor children,” Kerry said. “The President’s twisted rationale that he opposes ‘federalizing’ health care is a hollow excuse for undermining a successful effort to give Governors the control and the tools to deliver health care for kids who desperately need it. President Bush conveniently forgot that he ran for reelection with a promise to give health care to millions more children and now as a lame duck president he is working to take it away. It seems George Bush was for kids’ health care before he was against it. An overwhelming majority in Congress will fight to keep our promises to America’s children, and we will work to override this cynical, callous veto.”
Jennifer Loven of AP News reported, “The White House sought little attention for Bush’s action, with the president casting his veto behind closed doors without any fanfare or news coverage.” The cowardly action of a cold hearted and callous man who cares nothing of the fate of America’s children.
Ted Kennedy had a message today also for “Bush and the Members in Congress who support his veto”:
Would you deny your own family what you’ll be denying to millions of other families if this bill is vetoed? If you don’t believe the federal government should support children’s health care, how can you in good conscience accept it for your own families?
All Members of Congress have the peace of mind that when their children are sick, they can afford to take them to the doctor. Why doesn’t every American family deserve that peace of mind?
The President’s veto will have terrible consequences – just look at the faces on the Families USA video. It’s time everyone understood what those consequences are.
That’s why so many of us in Congress – Republicans and Democrats alike – are fighting so hard for this bill, to keep the faith with the millions of children who are counting on us for the healthy start in life that every American deserves.