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House Fails to Override Second Veto of Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization

On January 23, the House failed, 260-152, to override President Bush’s veto of H.R. 3963, a bill to reauthorize the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP); the vote fell 15 votes short of the two-thirds majority required by the Constitution. The House approved the bill on October 25; the Senate approved it on November 1 (see The Source, 11/2/07). Congress had approved a previous SCHIP reauthorization bill (H.R. 976), but, like H.R. 3963, it was vetoed by President Bush (see The Source, 9/28/07). After passing H.R. 3963, which President Bush indicated he would veto, members of the House were unable to reach an agreement on the terms of reauthorization, including coverage for childless adults, family income eligibility limits, and funding the program’s expansion through an increase in the federal tobacco tax. Given the impasse in negotiations, Congress approved an extension of the current SCHIP program (P.L. 110-273); the extension expires on March 31, 2009 (see The Source, 12/19/07). The program was created by the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 (P.L. 105-33) and provides health insurance to low-income children who are ineligible for Medicaid, but unable to obtain private health insurance coverage.

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