President Bush vetoed a $35-billion expansion of a popular government health-insurance program for poor children. Democrats said they would fight to override the veto—just the fourth in Bush’s two terms. The measure passed in the Senate with a veto-proof majority, but fell short of the required two-thirds needed in the House.
Bravo, Mr. President, said Paul Mirengoff on Power Line. The State Children’s Health Insurance Program is supposed to provide coverage for kids in lower-income families, but the Democrats are trying to expand it to include middle-class children. In the process, they would “double the cost of covering an uninsured child,” and “substitute government programs and taxpayer dollars for private coverage and funding.” Oh, and the program would run out of money by 2013.
Those arguments won’t help the president if the Democrats succeed in framing this as a fight pitting “children versus the president,” said Mark Silva in The Chicago Tribune’s The Swamp blog. Bush wants a much smaller expansion of the program, and calls the bill a step toward federalized health-care. But Democrats have put their own spin on the battle by sending “children towing red wagons full of petitions” parading past the White House. They “smell political blood on this issue,” and the polls show the public is with them.
This won’t be an all-or-nothing fight, said David Stout in The New York Times (free registration). This proposal passed with “unusual bipartisan support.” Even many Republicans who “side with the president on almost everything else” are on the other side of this issue, and more could defect at any time. Republican leaders are confident they have enough votes to sustain the veto, but both the White House and Congress will try to find a compromise to avoid a showdown.