Democrats had rewritten the $35 billion SCHIP legislation in an effort to create more firm caps on income eligibility while explicitly banning children of illegal immigrants from qualifying for the program, funding the expansion with an increase in tobacco taxes. But in an October vote, Democrats gained no ground with House Republicans, who held enough of their members together to sustain any veto.
Bush issued his veto on Wednesday, saying "our nation's goal should be to move children who have no health insurance to private coverage _ not to move children who already have private health insurance to government coverage."
Democrats dispute that expanding SCHIP to 10 million children would encourage families who have private insurance to dump their health plans in favor of the government program.
With a little over a week left in the congressional session, it's not clear if Congress will even bother to schedule a veto override vote that is guaranteed to fail.