Senate Democrats at a news conference today called on the full Senate to provide additional funds to renew and expand the State Childrens Health Insurance Program.
At deadline, both the full Senate and the House Budget Committee were considering their respective fiscal 2008 budget resolutions, each of which calls for $50 billion to fund the program above its baseline over five years. Senate aides claim this money would cover the 6 million children currently enrolled in the program and an additional 6 million who are eligible but not enrolled over a 10-year period.
I dont see the administration standing in our way of appropriating these extra funds, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) told reporters. It would be improper and bad politics.
SCHIP, up for reauthorization this year, has enjoyed a bipartisan following, although Baucus, Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and other Democrats at the briefing said that 20 states would run out of SCHIP funds in fiscal 2008 under President Bushs plan to reauthorize the program, and that 36 states would be out of SCHIP money by fiscal 2012. Sen. John D. Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) is preparing to introduce legislation in the next week that would redistribute unspent SCHIP money to states that need those funds the most. -- by Jennifer Lubell