As expected...as threatened...George Bush vetoed HR976, the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2007.
The House will probably uphold the veto, as the bill originally passed with a bipartisan 265 - 159 majority. While that's a solid majority, it's still significantly less than the 2/3 required to overturn a veto.
However, there's very little joy in GOPland tonight.
Now the Republican Congresscritters must either go against a Republican President and override the veto, something that they have never done, or are going to have to vote to uphold the veto and choose to sacrifice the health care of poor children (all in the name of 'fiscal responsibility') while supporting Bush's unpopular, immoral, and expensive occupation of Iraq (not only is the war wrong, it sure as hell isn't 'fiscally responsible').
And the Democratic leadership in the House is doing what they can to help the Repubs with their little dilemma - by a 222 - 197 vote, the House postponed the veto override vote until October 18.
That's right, the Republican Congresscritters will have two weeks of arm-twisting from both parties (and not all of the Republicans doing the arm-twisting want to uphold the veto - Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) has already said that he will be calling House members to garner support for an override).
However, Arizona's own John Shadegg (R - CD3) staunchly defended the President's veto in the Hill's Congressblog -
American people deserve to know that the bill isn’t limited to uninsured poor children and should have been vetoed.
BTW - that's his entire defense of the veto; that's the posting in its entirety.
Shockingly (OK, not really :) ) Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) supports the veto, too. His letter to the editor in support of the veto, printed in the AZ Republic is here.
Besides the arm-twisting from the White House and their own colleagues, House members will also have two weeks of their office staffs getting swamped with with calls, letters, and emails (hint hint :)) ).
My favorite line during the debate on postponing the veto override vote (courtesy the Atlanta Journal-Constitution) -
"President Bush is a one-man axis of evil," said Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif., chairman of one of the House subcommittees that helped write the bill. "I am disgusted by his veto of a bipartisan compromise that would have provided care to nearly 4 million uninsured children."
I have to disagree slightly - Bush is not a *one-man* axis of evil, but as evidenced by the unwavering support from watercarriers like Kyl and Shadegg, he may certainly be a leader of one.
Columnist Froma Harrop of the Providence Journal made an observation about the arguments in favor of the veto that others (including me!) have also noted - it always comes back to the profits of private insurers.
Harrop, via the Houston Chronicle -
You see, the writers of the SCHIP legislation worked on the simple-minded idea that the taxpayers could help uninsured children by just picking up their medical bills. They didn't understand the subtle thinking of the Bush administration, which can't support a government program that doesn't also enrich private interests.Kyl made the argument in his letter to the editor, Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO) used it in his op-ed piece in the Kansas City Star, and the President even cited it in his veto letter to the House.
How is it that the Republicans who, almost to a man, profess piousness and devotion to their particular religion-du-jour, think that no one will notice that they've sold their souls?
Congressional Budget Office analysis of the bill here.
An NPR summary of the issue is here.
AP analysis here.
Blog analysis from AZ blogger and activist Eli Blake here (he's an insightful and skilled writer. I recommend bookmarking his blog, Deep Thought.)
P.S. - when contacting the offices of the various Congresscritters, be polite.
The interns and low-level staffers answering the phones and reading the letters are *NOT* the Congresscritter that they work for. They don't get paid anywhere near enough for the sh__storm that's coming their way.
Senior staffers and elected officials? Give 'em an earful.
Damn am I going to get grief for that line. :)))