(Graves is going to have to decide – again – between loyalty to Dear Leader and health care for millions of children. – promoted by Clark)

Speaker Pelosi’s House passed a slightly trimmed SCHIP legislation, but is still seven votes shy of the two-thirds majority necessary to overcome a threatened second veto by the Decider. By tightening up the prose on the bill, Pelosi hoped to attract the approximately fifteen or so Republican votes that she needs to do the deal. 

Unchanged is the $35 billion increase over five years to the program with the intent of enrolling an additional four million children. That new enrollment would bring the program total to 10 million participants.  Also unchanged is the proposal to pay for the SCHIP increase with a 61-cent increase on a package of cigarettes.  Bush opposes both of these proposals. 

Revisions will include capping eligibility at 300 percent of poverty level.  Coverage for low income adults that some states cover would be phased out in one year and the bill will specifically bar the use of federal money to cover illegal immigrants.  Since these issues were specifics cited by Republicans voting to sustain the Decider’s veto on the previous bill, this time those naysayers will be left with very little cover for 08.  The only remaining reasons for not voting for the bill, based on previous Republican argument, will be the increase in eligibility and funding and the increased tax on cigarettes. 

From Pelosi:

it honors the spirit of 10 million children, $35 billion dollars all paid for, no new deficit spending, pay as you go. And again this is a clarification of the legislation that we put forth to insure these children.  We are responding to some of the concerns expressed by some of our colleagues and some clarification that we thought improved the bill.

The measure is now headed for the Senate where it is expected to be approved with little change. 

So it is back to the phones guys.  Give your Republican reps one more chance.  If memory serves me, this slightly revised bill cuts the foundation out from under the excuses of one Sam Graves.  Republicans in the House were steamed and crying foul.  Apparently seven Reps who voted against the previous bill were absent due to the fires in California. Looks like a few giant steps have been taken since the days of Tom DeLay