State Dems Scathe SCHIP Veto, GOP Quiet

Colorado Democrats are wasting no time responding to President Bush’s veto this morning of the reauthorization bill for the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Bush has been getting attacked from all sides by children’s health advocates, leaders of the state programs, newspaper editorial boards and many Democratic lawmakers. Even a group of children protested Bush’s veto threat in front of the White House Monday, and five states threatened to sue the federal government if Bush vetoed the bill. But the President didn’t back down, saying the bill expands the original intent of SCHIP beyond providing health coverage to poor children.

continued…But Bush is taking a beating by vetoing the bill. Especially since the 151 mostly Republican House members who voted against the measure are being comparatively quiet next to the cacophony of protest from Democrats.

Since Bush vetoed the bill this morning, press releases condemning the action have be released by Colorado Democrats Gov. Bill Ritter, Sen. Ken Salazar,  Reps. Diana DeGette, John Salazar and Ed Perlmutter, State Sens. John Morse and Bob Hagedorn and State Reps. Diane Primavera and Sara Gagliardi. The Colorado Democratic Party and the Colorado SCHIP Coalition also chimed in.

But Colorado’s Republican delegation, all of whom voted against the measure, have not issued statements so far on the veto. It’s likely seen as dangerous territory, since SCHIP is popular and deals with health care for children.

Excerpts from Coloradans’ statements on the veto:

Rep. DeGette: “President Bush sent a clear message to 116,000 kids in Colorado that their health is not a priority. Children in Colorado and across the country are relying on this vital program for their health care. Congress will not let the coverage lapse for those currently receiving health care. We will take the necessary steps to continue and enhance this program.”

Sen. Salazar: “I am extremely disappointed that President Bush vetoed the strong, bipartisan and fiscally responsible package we sent to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program.  With the stroke of his pen, President Bush is denying coverage to over 100,000 Colorado children and nearly 10 million children Nationwide. It is reprehensible that
he has chosen against investing in the health and well being of our Nation’s children which is our moral and economic obligation.”

Gov. Ritter:“At a time when the entire country is focused on finding ways to provide health coverage to the uninsured, and at a time when even Congress has come together and found bipartisan common ground over this issue, President Bush’s priorities are just plain wrong.

Rep. Salazar: “This morning, with an effortless signature, the president left 56,000 children in Colorado without health care, sending his message to working American families that their future does not
matter.”

Rep. Perlmutter: “I continue to be disappointed by President Bush and his unwillingness
to prioritize critical domestic issues like providing health insurance to millions of uninsured, low-income children throughout this nation.

We will post statements from Colorado Republicans as they are issued.

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Kerri Rebresh

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