President Bush exerted his veto power for the fourth time of his presidency today, upsetting legislation that would expand a children’s healthcare program.
Democrats in Congress appeared undaunted about overriding the President’s veto of the legislation, but Democratic senators on the hill are not likely to muster the 2/3 majority required to reverse the veto.
This law would benefit lower income children by ensuring federal healthcare grants to states. Over a period of five years the government would spend an additional $35 billion on the Children’s Health Insurance Program, funded by an increase in the tobacco tax to 61 cents per pack. The new bill would also decrease funding availability to states that allow CHIP families at more than three times above the poverty level, or about $60,000 for a four member family.
Democratic groups such as MoveOn.org have organized rallies in the coming weeks to register their complaints with the President over his veto of the legislation. Such groups are insisting that Mr. Bush is entirely indifferent to the health care needs of lower income children.
Republican opposition groups maintain they were left out of key policy negotiations, so that the veto will offer the opportunity to revisit these parts of the bill in session.