The House of Representatives narrowly failed to override President Bush’s veto of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act. Minnesota’s delegation strongly supported the override, but the vote failed, 273-156. The vote required 286 votes, or 2/3 of the total, to pass.
Minnesota’s Congressional delegation voted mostly along party lines, with Republican Reps. Michele Bachmann and John Kline casting the only dissenting votes. Rep. Jim Ramstad, R-Minn., voted to override the veto, as did Democrats Keith Ellison, Betty McCollum, Jim Oberstar, Collin Peterson, and Tim Walz.
The failure to reauthorize S-CHIP could jeopardize medical coverage for numerous children who depend on the program. Democrats have been pushing for an expansion of the program, while many Republicans have said they would reauthorize the program in its current form. In a statement issued this week, Bachmann said, “Congress…passed legislation to expand SCHIP coverage beyond children, beyond U.S. citizens, and beyond those who are truly in need, and that is where the problem lies.”
But Democrats cited strong bipartisan support. In a statement given on the House floor earlier this month, Ellison said, “the bipartisan SCHIP reauthorization bill, which was vetoed by the President, is supported by 67 Senators, including 18 Republicans. It is supported by 43 Governors, including 16 Republican Governors, and I’m proud to say my own Governor, Tim Pawlenty. Governor Pawlenty knows that he and I have disagreed on things in the past, but we’re together on this, that children’s health must be cared for by adults.”