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House Fails to Override President's Veto of SCHIP Bill
On October 18, by a vote of 273 to 156, the House fell approximately 13 votes short of achieving the two-thirds majority that was required to override the President's veto of H.R. 976, the "Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act."
Taken as a whole, 229 Democrats and 44 Republicans voted in support of overriding the President's veto. By contrast, 220 Democrats and 45 Republicans voted "yes" when the House initially approved this bill on September 25.
Following the House vote, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said that Congress would send the President another SCHIP bill within two weeks. She recommended that the next bill may be modified to succeed over the additional votes that are required to get a two-thirds majority, but did not denote what changes would be made. Pelosi emphasized that any final SCHIP legislation must cover 10 million children and that this point is non-negotiable.
The White House issued a statement signifying that the President has directed HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt, NEC Director Al Hubbard, and OMB Director Jim Nussle to work with congressional leaders to arrive at an agreement on SCHIP reauthorization legislation. In the meantime, on Thursday, congressional Republicans, led by Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL) and Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO), introduced legislation (S. 2193/H.R. 3888) proposing an $11.5 billion expansion of SCHIP over five years. Along with a grant program to support state health, care reforms and a tax credit to support children's health insurance for families with incomes between 200 and 300 percent of the federal poverty level.