Democrats clearly want to keep alive the debate over health coverage for uninsured children, so they held a doomed vote this afternoon on President Bush's veto of the State Children's Health Insurance Program.
The vote was 260-152, at least 15 votes short of the two-thirds threshold needed to override a veto. The Democratic bill _ backed by 45 Republicans in the House _ would expand eligibility for SCHIP benefits to 10 million uninsured children. Republicans have rejected the measure because they believe it would allow illegal immigrants and middle income people to get government health coverage, even though there is explicit language in the bill to prevent such problems.
Republicans railed against what they saw as a politically motivated vote.
"Today’s vote is no different than the votes the Democratic Congress held in the past where they’ve chosen to put politics over policy," said Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), the House minority whip. "Every dollar they want to spend on a middle-income adult is a dollar they take away from a low-income child."
Democrats were happy to watch Republicans vote against a popular children's health care bill in an election year.
"It's our determination to continue to push this," said Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), who has promised to use the SCHIP vote as a political tool this fall. "It's a true bipartisan bill and it gives 10 million children health care."