The Senate voted 64-30 Thursday to approve a newly revised bill that would reauthorize the State Childrens Health Insurance Program.
The House last week voted 265-142 to approve the bill, falling short of enough votes to override a presidential veto. President Bush vetoed a slightly different version of the bill in early October and said he would veto this version as well.
The legislation would still fund the program at $35 billion above the programs baseline of $25 billion over five years using tobacco tax money as a funding source, but would phase childless adults out of the program within one year instead of two and take more steps to prevent substitution of SCHIP coverage for private coverage, as well as ensure that illegal immigrants would not obtain coverage. It would also set income eligibility at up to 300% of the federal poverty level, just over $60,000 for a family of four based on 2007 guidelines.
The vote followed what was a day of eleventh-hour negotiations between the Senate Finance Committee leaders and the House GOP. Earlier, Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) had sounded a note of cautious optimism that a middle ground could be reached that would allow a number of House Republicans to vote for the bill even though the White House yesterday further entrenched itself in opposition.
Im not saying were going to get the job done, but I think theres a good chance we will, Baucus said Thursday morning.
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