Democrats Push $50B Increase for Kids’ Health Insurance
Senate and House Democrats on Wednesday announced an agreement on a final $2.9 trillion fiscal year 2008 budget resolution that includes an additional $50 billion over five years for an expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program, CongressDaily reports.
Both the Senate and House on Thursday likely will vote on the legislation, which includes $21 billion more for domestic discretionary spending than President Bush has requested (Cohn/Bourge, CongressDaily, 5/16).
The Senate on March 23 voted 52-47 to approve a $2.9 trillion FY 2008 budget resolution that includes funds for an expansion of SCHIP, as well as billions of dollars in additional funds for health care for veterans and other domestic programs. The Senate budget resolution, which includes about $18 billion more for domestic discretionary spending in FY 2008 than Bush has requested, would provide as much as an additional $50 billion over five years for an expansion of SCHIP.
The Senate budget resolution also includes $3.5 billion more than Bush has requested for health care for veterans. In addition, the Senate budget resolution includes 25 "reserve funds" to provide additional spending for health care and other domestic programs, provided that the costs are offset by spending reductions in other areas or new revenue.
The House on March 29 voted 216-210 to approve a FY 2008 budget resolution that would require Congress to offset increased funds for Medicare, SCHIP and other health care programs with tax increases or spending reductions. The House budget resolution exceeds the amount Bush requested for discretionary spending by more than $24 billion and exceeds the amount of the Senate budget resolution by about $7 billion (California Healthline, 5/14).
The final budget resolution does not specify "where the money would come from" for an expansion of SCHIP, CongressDaily reports. The Senate budget resolution included a provision that would increase the federal tobacco tax by 61 cents per pack to raise $35 billion for an expansion of SCHIP.
In addition, the Senate budget resolution included a provision that would use $10 billion from reserve funds and $5 billion from surplus funds in FY 2012 for an expansion of SCHIP. However, neither of the provisions "survived negotiations with the House," according to CongressDaily (Edney, CongressDaily, 5/17).
Both the Senate and House "are expected to have enough votes for adoption, largely along party lines," CQ Today reports (Clarke, CQ Today, 5/16).
House Budget Committee Chair John Spratt (D-S.C.) said, "Within this framework, our budget does more for veterans' health care, more for education and more for children's health care" (CongressDaily, 5/16).
House Appropriations Committee Chair David Obey (D-Wis.), said of differences between the final budget resolution and the request from Bush, "I haven't had too many people grab me back home and say, 'Obey, why don't you come to your senses and cut cancer research?' That's what the president's budget has done for the past two years, and that's what it would do again."
White House Office of Management and Budget Director Rob Portman on Wednesday reiterated that Bush would veto any FY 2008 appropriations bills that exceed his request (Montgomery, Washington Post, 5/17).
House Budget Committee ranking member Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said, "This budget blueprint says that for the next five years, Congress isn't going to do a single thing to reform and save entitlements. That's just wrong" (CQ Today, 5/16).