WISCREPORT.COM (10/19/07) - Citizen Action of Wisconsin, a USAction affiliate, applauded Wisconsin Congessional Representative Tom Petri (R-Fond du Lac) for crossing partisan lines, and voting Thursday (10/18/07) to override President Bush’s veto of a bill to renew and expand the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).
The House narrowly missed its chance to override the veto, even though the plan would have guaranteed 10 million children access to quality, affordable health care. The vote was 273-156, 13 votes short of the 286 votes needed for an override.
The Democrats in Wisconsin’s House delegation, Representatives David Obey, Tammy Baldwin, Gwen Moore, Steve Kagen, and Ron Kind also voted to override Bush’s veto.
“Rep. Petri’s vote for SCHIP is a vote in favor of quality, affordable health care for all children in America,” said Linda Honold, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. “We applaud Rep. Petri for standing with his constituents for this investment in America’s future.”
Citizen Action of Wisconsin has over 18,000 members in Petri's 6th Congressional District.
President Bush vetoed a bipartisan plan to renew and expand the children’s health program earlier this month. In each of the two weeks since, the cost of his endless, failed war in Iraq has equaled a year’s worth of health care for 800,000 kids.
USAction has been a leader in the Campaign to Save Children’s Health Care. As Congress prepared for today’s vote, USAction affiliates held dozens and dozens of events featuring the voices of health care providers, teachers, faith leaders and other groups to demand that lawmakers stand with the children and working families in their communities in opposition to the president’s unconscionable decision.
Even though Petri was one of 44 Republican House of Representatives members who voted to override Bush's veto of the S-CHIP program, it wasn't enough to do the job. Wisconsin Congressional Representative Ron Kind (D-LaCrosse) was one of many Democrats and Republicans alike who thought there should have been more Republicans voting in favor of the veto override so SCHIP could be saved.
U.S. Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) made the following statement on the failure of the House to get the two-thirds majority needed to override President Bush's veto of legislation to expand and extend the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP):
“Unfortunately, House Republicans chose party loyalty over kids, and upset a rare bipartisan effort to extend health insurance coverage to millions more deserving children. This was the right thing to do – the bill was not only fiscally responsible, it was also a smart investment the future health of this country," Ron Kind stated.
“The sooner we can give kids access to preventive care services, the more likely it is we’ll avoid greater health care costs down the road. In Wisconsin, SCHIP funds BadgerCare, and with the help of this bill, Wisconsin could have worked to extend health care coverage to the 63,000 children in the state that are still uninsured," Kind says.
“Over the past few weeks, the President and his followers have made false claims about this bill, characterizing it as fiscally irresponsible and directed at the wrong people. The SCHIP bill would simply allow states like Wisconsin to capture more children who are already eligible for coverage but who – because of a lack of resources – are not already enrolled in the program," Congressman Kind points out.
"Moreover, this bill is completely paid for with a modest increase in the tobacco tax – the most important thing we can do to prevent kids from smoking, and another way to avoid unnecessary health care costs in the future," he said.
“I simply do not understand how the President can justify another $200 billion in deficit financing for the war in Iraq, while at the same time vetoing a budget-neutral bill that will provide 10 million children with health insurance," Kind continued.
"An overwhelming majority of Americans believe this is the right thing to do for our kids, and in the wake of this vote, we will continue to look for ways to work together to give health care to children who – by no fault of their own – have been denied coverage,” Wisconsin U.S. House Representative Kind said.