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Dems Still Short of GOP Votes for Veto-Proof SCHIP Majority

The third time was not the charm for House Democrats, as they failed today to grow their bipartisan majority for expanding a children's insurance program beyond the two-thirds majority needed to override President Bush's veto of the legislation.

In forcing a vote on a re-tailored $35 billion expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) could not attract the additional Republican votes needed to foil a presidential veto, leaving Democrats at almost the exact same spot they were four weeks ago.

The final vote was 265-142, with 43 Republicans joining 220 Democrats to support the measure. Rep. Jim Marshall (D-Ga.), one of the most endangered incumbents in the House who hails from a conservative district, was the lone Democrat to join Republicans in opposing the measure.

Those 43 Republicans are almost identical to the 45 who supported the original bill in late September, with one Republican who previously supported the SCHIP bill - Rep. Don Young of Alaska - absent today. Another early supporter, Rep. Vern Ehlers (R-Mich.), switched to a 'nay' vote today.

If all their supporters were on hand for another veto override, Democrats would still be almost 15 votes short of the two-thirds majority needed to defeat Bush. (Last week's override vote fell 13 short of the two-thirds majority of the 429 members who voted.)

Democrats believe that SCHIP is a winning issue for them, regardless of the final outcome. If Democrats eventually work out a compromise with the White House, Pelosi can claim it as a "crown jewel" in her party's agenda. If the legislation hopelessly stalls in the House, Democrats can bash Republicans for killing a highly popular national health care program for kids. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and its liberal allies for weeks have been running ads in support of the legislation.

But it's looking more and more like the only win Democrats will get on SCHIP will be on the political front next year. Looking at the votes, the House Democrats have simply run into an ideological-geographical brick wall on SCHIP.

Pelosi has found virtually no GOP votes for the insurance program in the South, barely any in the Mountain West and very few in the West and Southwest. Consider these numbers:

• Of the Republicans already in her camp, Pelosi has 13 votes from Midwestern Republicans.
• 15 votes come from Republicans hailing from the Mid-Atlantic or the Northeast.
• Only two "southern" Republicans supported the bill today: Tom Davis and Frank Wolf - who represent the fast-growing Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C.
• Out West, the only GOP support comes from those lawmakers in urban or suburban districts: Mary Bono of Palm Springs, Calif.; Jon Porter of Las Vegas; Rick Renzi of suburban Phoenix; and Heather Wilson of Albuquerque.

A few other Republicans from rural districts did support the measure - Reps. Jo Ann Emerson of Missouri, Jerry Moran of Kansas and Mike Simpson of Idaho, for example. But Democrats are almost out of political room to squeeze more votes to surmount the veto-proof majority. More than a handful of Republicans from coastal or Midwestern districts should expect a heavy dose of politicking by the DCCC and its liberal allies against their votes on SCHIP: Reps. Tom Feeney (Fla.), Thelma Drake (Va.), Jim Saxton (N.J.), Randy Kuhl (N.Y.), Steve Chabot (Ohio), Tim Walberg (Mich.) and Joseph Knollenberg (Mich.).

Each of those lawmakers are on DCCC target lists, but none would ever make it onto The Fix's Friday line as being in imminent danger of losing his or her seat. And, now that they've voted three separate times against an SCHIP expansion, it's almost impossible to envision these lawmakers flip-flopping unless the bill is dramatically reshaped.

And even if all seven switched sides to support the SCHIP expansion, Democrats would still be short of beating Bush on the issue.

By Paul Kane  |  October 25, 2007; 6:43 PM ET
Categories:  House  
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It is unconscionable that this program could not pass to give some hope to millions of children around the US. The Republicans can spend trillions on wars in Iraq and Afganistan with questionable long term results but cannot find any money for programs in the US. Let us hope that someone reminds the electorate in a strong way in the next presidential election. Charles Hopfl

Posted by: Charles Hopfl | October 25, 2007 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Do the people who voted against this bipartisan bill know exactly what they're voting against besides it's voting against Nancy Pelosi and the Dems,which is in my mind very childish. How shameful to vote against something to help the needy. How can you dignify your votes now? They've made sure no illegals will get any care,lowered the requirements to receive any assistance. What is their arguement now,except it's a vote against anything Democratic. Is this their way of staying relevant like their unillustrious leader knowing full well they are history after next November? You unAmericans are a digrace and should be led in chains out of this once great country before you can spend your war profits. Hopefully there is a God and I'll be able to see you all go to jail or better yet,HE11 !
Totally despicable

Posted by: jime | October 25, 2007 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Frankly....the SCHIP bill was doomed before it came back to the floor again. The Democrats are bringing it back because it has energized their base to harass Republicans representatives in their home districts. Thats all fine and dandy, but what people really want from the Democrats is serious debate and action on the Iraq war. A gaggle of unpassable health bills will not make Iraq or the Democrats unwillingness to stand firm go away. We elected Democrats to take action on Iraq and we are only two weeks away from the funding vote. Where is the action? This unpassable bill is a bunch of SCHIP designed to avoid the real topic.

Posted by: Kevin Morgan | October 25, 2007 7:41 PM | Report abuse

I am becoming ashamed to be an American. When we can't take care of our most vulnerable citizens, we have lost our humanity.

Maybe if more right wingers are voted out of office, we can have some social progress in this country and tax the rich the same as the dwindling middle class.

Posted by: Still Believe | October 25, 2007 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Whether the issue is raising the minimum wage for the working poor, providing funds for stem-cell research to help millions afflicted with blindness, paralysis, or chronic illness, or proving healthcare for millions of needy is the Democratic Party who are the agents for good in this country! Democrats who are champions of the poor, the ill, the oppressed, the disenfranchised. They are true standard bearers of good in this country. The religious hypocrites, war-mongers, advocates for the rich and privledged, champions of the drug, coal and oil companies, the military industrial complex...their party is the party of Darkness. Beware..Bush has Frodo's ring!

Posted by: A. Lincoln | October 25, 2007 7:46 PM | Report abuse

The Democrats and the progressive Republicans should send the same bill back to Bush for him to sign or veto again. Eventually it will sink deeply into the citizens of the US it that the only way change the country's direction is to elect in 08 a veto proof Congress. The bill that was passed and vetoed is popular and needed in the country. Those who consistently vote in the House and Senate against coverage for kids need to pay the political price, electoral defeat in 08. It is time to look after the health of the children in the country not special corporate interest.

Posted by: Redman | October 25, 2007 7:47 PM | Report abuse

Excellent comments Mr. Redman...excellent!

Posted by: A. Lincoln | October 25, 2007 7:53 PM | Report abuse

I want the Democrats run this ad every single day till the 2008 elections "$2.5 trillion for the war in Iraq, $0 for our children's health. Welcome to Bush country".

Posted by: Mike | October 25, 2007 7:57 PM | Report abuse

It's my understanding that S-CHIP has passed. If that's true, the standard GOP smear tactic failed -- as it should have. What has happened to the once-honorable Republican Party? It has lost its soul.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 25, 2007 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Denny Rehberg, R-Montana voted in support of SCHIP and you don't list him.

Posted by: wilbur rehmann | October 25, 2007 9:11 PM | Report abuse

I love the sour grapes from Blount about how it was unfair because some Republicans wanted to get in on Georgies little photo-op visit to California.

We Californian's havent heard a peep from this guy in six years but hey here is a chance for him to pretend he cares. It is so transparent its laughable.

Hey George if you really want to help get the heck out of the way and tell the EPA to grant California's waiver.

Posted by: Cal | October 25, 2007 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Some people that care about people still vote against this. Not everyone thinks it's the government's responsibility to provide health care, especially not to those above the poverty level.

Posted by: Kevin | October 25, 2007 9:18 PM | Report abuse

Gee CBS said yesterday that the working poor in California are makeing better then $70,000 a year. Thats what $35 per hour?

Minimum wage here in Florida is $5 per hour!

Posted by: Phil | October 25, 2007 9:52 PM | Report abuse

You mindless liberal "lets jump on any bandwagon we're told to" types make me sick. Have you all totally lost what used to be common sense. This is mainly funded by raising tobacco taxes, several hundred precent in most cases. Well good you say, people will stop smoking. Yes they will. Then where will the money to fund SCHIP come from? Duh? Why not raise gas taxes 5 cents a gallon and fund the whole thing. Nobody will stop driving over that, but they will stop smoking when you triple the price of a pack of cigarettes. No sales = no taxes = no healthcare. Do you even read past the first line of any story? Obviously not.

Posted by: Calvin | October 25, 2007 9:54 PM | Report abuse

The President was ready to sign the SCHIP program and even add money to it.

But the stupid Dems want to increase socialized medicine and make me pay for even MORE people who can AFFORD their own health care. Why should I sacrifice to pay for my family as well as the families with 3 new cars, big houses, commercial properties just because they choose NOT to be responsible.

What if we ALL said screw it, and went on the dole? Who would pay for that then? Pelosi, Reid & Kennedy? They shelter their money from taxes with bonds & offshore accounts.

Screw the responsible working man so they can buy more votes with money stolen from me.

Eventually when all the takers outnumber the producers, there will be a revolution in this country again.

Posted by: Bob | October 25, 2007 10:06 PM | Report abuse

Looks like he's not so irrelevant after all. But Pelosi and Reid on the other hand, sheesh.

Posted by: BG from PG | October 25, 2007 10:10 PM | Report abuse

What is wrong with you people? You are swallowing the Dem sales pitch hook line and sinker.

That bill failed for all the right reasons. It was PACKED with sneaky amnesty provisions and porkers no wide awake citizen would have approved in a million years.

Pelosi is a terminal liar and a lousy actress. This bill is not for children. This bill is about Mexicans and winning a two-fer over stupid citizens.

Posted by: WHY | October 25, 2007 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Bob, I understand your concerns that this bill funds well off children and lets families who can afford health care for their kids go on the dole but as a member of a hardworking, American family that cannot afford health insurance for our child (nor for myself or my husband) that makes less than $30,000 a year, I can tell you we are the real face of the people who benefit from this bill. Without SCHIP my son will have no basic health care. This isn't about trying to rip off the system, this is about caring for children in a system of health care that is about profit first, the health of our citizens last. If you doubt me, take a look at how far down America is in the lists of quality health care among 1st world nations.

Posted by: JQ | October 25, 2007 10:39 PM | Report abuse

This bill may have loopholes. Which law does not? If you expect a flawless bill, then you will never get one. I assume the vast majority of its beneficiaries are well deserved poor kids. Sign it, George W Bush, if you still have a little bit moral value left in your hollow soul.

Posted by: Sam | October 25, 2007 10:56 PM | Report abuse

Is this really the kind of item that belongs in government, or should it be a private matter?

Posted by: John D. Froelich | October 26, 2007 12:02 AM | Report abuse

This bill is not about children, it is about a fight between an incompetent House Leader and Pres. Bush. If this Speaker wanted to give children the Health Insurance they needed, she should do so straight up. No added perks for all the special interest groups attached to it. She is no different than the Republicans she said she would not be like when she was elected Speaker. She is in the pockets of the Interest Groups also.

Posted by: Michael | October 26, 2007 12:21 AM | Report abuse

The quality of opposition to this bill can best be judged by reading the comments. The loonies have really crawled out from under their rocks. They have achieved that high level of intellectual insight and had the inspiration that this is all a plot hatched up between the Mexicans and Nancy Pelosi.
It is tragic that real children have to suffer because of the failure of adults. How do you call these cretins? Mindless, pathetic lunatics seems to fall short. Well 2008 is coming and perhaps once again we can have a country we can all be proud of.

Posted by: Supercritic | October 26, 2007 1:35 AM | Report abuse

Rick Renzi does not represent "suburban Phoenix." The First Congressional District in Arizona was specifically designed to allow for rural representation; the two cities of any size in it are Flagstaff and Prescott, both more than 100 miles from Phoenix -- and most of the territory lies even further away.

A quick look at the map could have told you this.

Posted by: AZ-01 Voter | October 26, 2007 4:05 AM | Report abuse

Do I read partisanship in many of the posts here? The fact remains that children will pay the price! The very same people that use "for the children" to make their case in other issues , in this case, prove that children are the last care on their mind!

Posted by: cunnigham7 | October 26, 2007 5:50 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: KYJurisDoctor | October 26, 2007 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Democrats helping the rich get richer, again.

Posted by: Joe | October 26, 2007 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Reader writes: "$2.5 trillion for the war in Iraq, $0 for our children's health."

This is a stupid argument - what does one have to do with the other?

Posted by: Manzone123 | October 26, 2007 4:18 PM | Report abuse

If the bill supported the needy and only the needy (of US citizens) we wouldn't be agruing this point. If the Dems really cared for the poor children then why are they trying to sneak other stuff in. You can hate Bush all you want but really people, let's call a duck a duck and wake up and realize what the dems really care about....?

Posted by: Shannon in Maine | October 26, 2007 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Mike and Shannon in Maine: Welcome to the US. At your first class in introductory civics you should learn a bit about the legislative process. Your naivete is charming!

Posted by: Spectator2 | October 26, 2007 5:13 PM | Report abuse

When is S-CHIP not for kids. In Michigan, it is when 71% of the SCHIP money is allocated for adults without children! This is according to gov't statistics and is but one example of socialism.

Posted by: Neal | October 26, 2007 5:18 PM | Report abuse

make $83,000.00 annually - and get free healthcare for those under 25?? - 2 young adults & their 2 small children can all benefit?? come on.

Posted by: cj | October 26, 2007 5:20 PM | Report abuse

When is S-CHIP not for kids. In Michigan, it is when 71% of the SCHIP money is allocated for adults without children! This is according to gov't statistics and is but one example of socialism.

Posted by: Neal | October 26, 2007 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Maybe I'm wrong, but I understand that the argument is about raising the age limit for "kids" to 25 and the family income level to $75000. I don't think the poor kids that are already on CHIP would be kicked off by the promised veto.

Posted by: DJW | October 26, 2007 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Partisan issues aside, I wish we could all just take a step back and say: it may not be perfect, but it's a start. SCHIP is geared toward keeping children healthy. This is the start of a process that keeps children in school, helps them be able to learn and be physically active, and provides the base for the future of this country. It is part of "leaving no child behind."

Posted by: sharon | October 26, 2007 5:40 PM | Report abuse

You are all missing the point here. NOBODY was voting to reduce the amount of money going to S-CHIP. Democrats just wanted to greatly expand the program as an incremental step toward national health care. Why should I pay for the health care for a family that makes way more than I do! The government does not have the right to steal money from one group of people and give it to another. Health care is not a right under the Constitution. Yes, it is too expensive, but that is because of government interference, over-regulation, trial lawyers and HMOs making medical decisions. I know logic and reason (conservatism) is in direct contradiction to emotion (liberalism), but come on people, use your head for once. Do you really not know the ultimate outcome of this incremental government take over of the health care system? Going to the doctor will be like going to the DMV. Why would we trust something as precious as our health to the bumbling bureaucrats (on both sides of the aisle) that ruin everything they get their hands on?

Posted by: Dave | October 26, 2007 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Kids have health care. The needy already have health care. The U.S. is not a socialist state. The government caused the problem with health care in America by over socializing medicine to the extent it is not completive, and we want to exacerbate the problem? U.S. Capitalism refers to an economic system in which the means of production are all owned and operated for profit, and in which investments, distribution, income, production and pricing of goods and services are determined through the operation of a market economy. It is the right of individuals and groups of individuals acting as "legal persons" or corporations to trade capital goods, labor, land and money (see finance and credit). See

Posted by: Dr Coles | October 26, 2007 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Have you read the bill? You like to think
the republicans are not passing the bill
out of meaness.
This is ridiculous. Believe it or not,
the right loves children just as much as
the left.
However, they do not want the public
health care we have in Canada. It has not
worked here or in any country that has
been liberal. There are very good reasons
for vetoing this plan.
More work, Liberals, let us know this is
not just a phony try, tell us the plan
does not cover 25 year old children as
it stands now.
If we could in any way, trust the liberals
will for American children the 25 year
have to be taken out, they should be
working for themselves in respect to
health care.
Don't rush, it will not work, but if enough
good ideas are brought forth there will
be a better chance for the children.

Posted by: jean | October 26, 2007 8:06 PM | Report abuse

Dave...I couldn't have said it better myself! It's a shame we let the stupid ones in this country have a say in whatever we do!

Posted by: Tom | October 26, 2007 11:22 PM | Report abuse

Not all Republicans are heartless. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson R-MO has voted for SCHIP twice and is now in favor of a limited role in Iraq. She is the type of moderate Republican needed to take the party back from the extreme right.

Posted by: ewe2 | October 27, 2007 8:40 AM | Report abuse

You people need to do some research, not just react emotionally. This bill allows people who make up to $82,000 a year, and may be covered by private insurance to get it on the government giveaway. It will cost billions. Why should I pay for my neighbors' health care, when they make the same amount of money that my family does?

Posted by: Michelle Brown | October 27, 2007 9:45 PM | Report abuse

What an ill designed funding program for SCHIP. You want to take a diminishing tax base, smokers, and hold them liable for the healthcare of all "poor" children of those making less than $70,000 and year, and define children to the age of 25. Bogus! This is nothing more than the nose of the camel under the tent of National Healthcare. Also a shot for Hillary as to where Billy-Bob chose to wet down his Macanudos.

Posted by: Scott Morehouse | October 28, 2007 8:24 AM | Report abuse

JQ: Why in gods name did you have a child that you can't afford to take care of? This is the problem with people from the left. They remove all personal responsibility and attempt to let the government take care of everything. But by doing that, they remove common sense from human decisions. It's not necessary to make good choices, because if you make a bad one the goverment will bail you out. Having children is a privledge, not a right. If you can't afford one, don't have one. I want a Ferrari, but I can't afford it. Should I buy it anyway and hope the goverment will take over the payments because i'm a fool? No, that would be robbing honest tax payers because of my foolishness. If you try to protect the foolish from themselves, you rob hardworking people of their freedom.

Posted by: David | October 28, 2007 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Why should anyone have to pay for YOUR children? You had them, you pay for them. I raised three and sent them all through college on one income which was never more than $40,000 a year. The government, as do I, owe you nothing.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 28, 2007 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Social Security and too many other government programs are already bankrupting us and besides why should I work 5 months of the year for the government ( to pay taxes)? At some point I ( and others )just won't show up to work.

Posted by: Joe | October 28, 2007 8:08 PM | Report abuse

From reading these comments, it is clear to me that those hard-working, responsible tax-payers concerned about being swindled by "the Mexicans" and the "rich" working-poor (i.e Californians who earn above the national poverty line but, lo and behold, are still considered poor in California) have no idea what it means to be poor in contemporary America. While homelessness and joblessness certainly still exist today, there is a growing percentage of adult Americans who can only find employment in part-time jobs within the service sector. Most of these do not provide health care for employees or for the children of employees. Employees of small businesses are also often without affordable health care plans for their familes. These are the families that SCHIP advocates for. Yes, they may have housing (either a rented place or a bit of property wtih a hefty mortgage payment) and yes, they may have transportation (as might be necessary to get to work), but that does not mean that they are not poor. This is particularly true when you look at the high cost of living in areas like southern California.

And, on a final note, "the Mexicans" is a term often thrown about by the uninformed constituents of the scapegoating politicians that try to point fingers at a vulnerable community in order to reroute criticism from their own political failures and mishaps (i.e. Iraq). Not all Mexicans are "illegal," not all poor people are Mexican, and finally not a single human being is an "alien."

Posted by: JH | October 29, 2007 1:00 PM | Report abuse

JQ, Have you considered working an extra job to pay your insurance? Why should anyone be accountable for your life. You made your bed so sleep in it. This is not a socialist country....yet. The entire program should be cancelled or greatly reduced.

Posted by: roxi | October 29, 2007 2:40 PM | Report abuse

The President will sign a bill that renews SCHIP, and I support him. The current program covers all the "helpless" kids that are being moaned about anyway. Read it and find out.

What the President will not sign is Pelosi allowing any goofball to add junk to the bill, because the house cannot get anything done the normal way.

I suport the President in vetoing flawed legislation. It is his job.

Posted by: JB | October 29, 2007 4:59 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: dugas, florencia | October 29, 2007 5:27 PM | Report abuse

The Dems should publish the names of the 13 Rs who voted against tne SCHIP bill.

Posted by: Tom Lord | October 29, 2007 11:48 PM | Report abuse

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