Congressional leaders aiming to roll back a controversial CMS directive on childrens health coverage were dealt a blow when a Senate rules expert said that the group had missed a filing deadline under the Congressional Review Act.
Last week, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) introduced a joint resolution that effectively states that Congress does not approve of an Aug. 17, 2007 directive, which restricts a states ability to expand enrollment under the federally backed State Childrens Health Insurance Program. The resolution, which was signed by 45 other senators, was a first step toward staying the directive under the review act.
But the Senate parliamentarian late Tuesday ruled that the resolution was filed after a review deadline. Under the act, such a resolution needs to be issued within 60 days of the rules submission.
Baucus, who canceled a Finance Committee vote on the matter scheduled for today, said he would continue to fight the CMS directive. Theres more than one way to skin a cat, he said in a written statement. Rockefeller lashed out at the decision. It is indeed a sad day when the administration can flout the clear requirements of the law, he said in a statement.
The directive requires states seeking to enroll children in SCHIP from families earning more than 250% of the federal poverty level, or $44,000 for a family of three, to first prove that they have covered 95% of children in families earning less than 200% of the federal poverty level. -- by Matthew DoBias