SCHIP Dispute Leaves Pelosi Cornered

Neither side is ready yet to negotiate, as Congress prepares to vote on an override of President Bush’s veto of an expansion of children’s health insurance.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) vowed no compromise on the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. “No lower level than 10 million children,” she said on Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.” “I wish the president had signed the bill. We’ll try very hard to override it.”

But Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said concessions are inevitable. “She is going to compromise, there’s no choice. We are not going to walk away and leave these young people from low-income families uninsured,” McConnell said also on ABC.

“This is going to be like a pebble in the ocean,” he predicted, “a short-term controversy, a big partisan struggle, and then it’s going to be over.”

Earlier on “Fox News Sunday,” House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) said that Republicans would sustain the veto when the issue returns to the House floor.

If the veto stands, House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) said Democrats will simply introduce a new version of the bill “In the end, I think we will add 4 million children to health care,” he said on Fox.

Pelosi said the president has yet to contact her directly about any middle ground. “A compromise to him means do it my way,” the speaker said, reiterating she was “praying” for him and America’s children. “We’ll talk to the president at the right time, when he makes an overture do to so,” she said.

Responding from Crawford, Texas, where the president is spending the weekend, Deputy White House press secretary Tony Fratto said it was “unfortunate” that the speaker had launched “false political attacks against the president,’’ rather than work with him on the issue.

Bush has repeatedly said he was "more than willing to work with members of both parties from both Houses," Fratto said.

The fight over the proposed $35 billion expansion of SCHIP has turned nasty, as Democrats and liberal groups have run ads and held rallies and events, attacking Republicans who voted against the bill.

In response, Boehner said, Republicans plan to unveil their own health care plan over the next few months.

“Republicans are working on a plan that will provide access to all Americans to high quality health insurance, make sure that we increase the quality of insurance that we have in American, and we want to foster a sprit of innovation,” he said on Fox. “This is a plan we’ll see over the next coming months where we put the patients in charge of their health care.”

Middle East name calling

The speaker said she has no plans to bring up a Senate resolution, asking the Bush administration to label the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps a foreign terrorist organization.

“This has never happened before that a Congress should determine one piece of someone’s military is [a threat],” she said on ABC. “If it's a problem to us and our troops in Iraq, they should deal with it in Iraq.”

The measure, sponsored by Sens. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) and John Kyl (R-Ariz.), passed the Senate last month. And Democratic presidential contender Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois and other critics say the vote gives the Bush administration a rational for military action in Iran.

Guests on “This Week” and “Fox News Sunday” also discussed a resolution, calling the World War I-era killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks genocide. The House Foreign Relations Committee passed the measure last week over strenuous White House objections.

“I think our troops are well served when we declare who we are as a country and increase the respect that peopl have for us as a nation,” said Pelosi, vowing to bring the resolution to a vote on the House floor.

Republicans, meanwhile, continued their strong opposition. “The speaker should not bring this issue to the floor,” said Boehner, “and at this point in time, I’m not sure it will pass.”

McCain vs. Giuliani and Romney

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), struggling to corral some new momentum in his race for the GOP presidential nomination, was quick to take after the front-runners, Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney, on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

“We’ve all got to be honest about our records,” McCain said of rival Romney. “His record is very clear that he ran in Massachusetts as a very liberal Republican.”

And McCain reiterated his support for a presidential line item veto, criticizing Giuliani, the former New York mayor, for his fight against it in a lawsuit. “Taking to court so that you can preserve pork barrel products within the city of New York is not what Republican are all about,” McCain said.

McCain also continued his push for increased pressure on Iran.

“The Iranians can’t have a nuclear weapon in my view, but I also believe that we’ve got a lot of things we can do, including getting other nations together to impose meaningful sanctions, painful sanctions on the Iranians, which I think could have a beneficial effect.”

The Cosby Show

On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Iconic comedian Bill Cosby discussed his controversial new book that aims to empower low-income communities.

Dr. Huxtable, er, Cosby, and his co-author, Harvard University psychiatry professor Alvin Poussaint, talked about the problems affecting the nation’s black communities, noting black men are disproportional represented in the criminal justice system and as victims of homicides, as high school dropouts and in broken families.

And Cosby cited institutional and systemic racism as a cause of some of the problems.

“The power structure can stop a person from getting a better education. It can stop them form living in better conditions,” he said. “If laws are made to go against you. This kind of thing is very, very hurtful.”
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