The Senate plans on swift passage of legislation this week to reauthorize the State Childrens Health Insurance Program, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Sen. John Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) said at a news conference.
We start work on this Monday night, Reid said, adding that amendments could be offered on the floor at that time. The full Senate will be considering legislation approved by the Finance Committee several weeks ago that seeks to preserve coverage for as many as 6.7 million children now enrolled in SCHIP, while providing coverage to 3.9 million additional uninsured children from low-income families.
The $31.5 billion bill would be funded primarily by a 61-cent increase in the federal tax on cigarettes, with proportional increases for other tobacco products. It was passed in the finance committee by a 12-7 vote after lengthy partisan debate on eligibility requirements, specifically the inclusion of coverage for legal immigrants.