The SCHIP Shuffle Continues

Sickchild(From 9/9 – Photo courtesy of

This New York Times story yesterday tells us here that…

…Congressional Democrats have scrapped plans for another vote on expansion of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, thus sparing Republicans from a politically difficult vote just weeks before elections this fall. Before the summer recess, Democrats had vowed repeatedly to force another vote on the popular program. But Democrats say they have shifted course, after concluding that President Bush would not sign their legislation and that they could not override his likely veto. Mr. Bush vetoed two earlier versions of the legislation, which he denounced as a dangerous step toward “government-run health care for every American,” and the House sustained those vetoes.

Though this appears at first glance to be yet another Democratic capitulation, I would tend to agree with Bruce Lesley of First Focus, defined in the Times story as “a congressional advocacy group for children” who believes we should hold out for a better bill in the event of (God willing) an Obama win in November and an increase in Democratic congressional majorities to make passing a renewal of SCHIP an easier task next year. Also, Rahm Emanuel is the individual on the Dem side who knows the vote numbers; he knows this is ultimately a battle for another day given everything else on the Congressional plate, as it were (jobs and energy legislation and other spending bills). But what really got me in particular about this story was the following…

The child health program has become an issue in some Congressional races. In almost every speech, Kay Barnes, a Democrat running for Congress in northwest Missouri, criticizes Representative Sam Graves, a Republican, for voting against the bill last year. Mr. Graves said the bill would have allowed illegal immigrants and some high-income people to get “free taxpayer-funded health care.”

I have a question for the Times; is it too much trouble to point out when politicians are flat-outlying? Or would that mean this would no longer be a hard-news column or would instead constitute “analysis”? This Letter To The Editor printed in the Kansas City Star (concerning the SCHIP vote last year) tells us…

SCHIP covers only American citizens. Illegal immigrant children are not eligible, and even legal immigrant children must wait five years to participate. … Plain and simple, the president and his anti-kids caucus in Congress are wrong, and they know it. Rep. Graves has some explaining to do to his constituents about his vote against Missouri’s children and the dishonest way in which he justifies it.

Sam Graves…why does that name sound familiar? Oh yeah, it’s because he was the numbskull who brought us this…

And by the way, though I really haven’t had much of anything to say about Kay Barnes, you can click here to help her out and help hasten the return of Sam Graves to private life.

Update 9/10/08: Kagro X of The Daily Kos has more here.


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