Thursday, October 25, 2007

Return of S-CHIP - Question the Timing

Here we go again. The House has passed what is being called a scaled back version of the S-CHIP bill. The vote was 265-142, still short of veto proof. How was it scaled back? According to the Washington Post:
The new version will underscore that illegal immigrants will not have access to the expanded program. It will ease adults off the program in one year, rather than the two in the vetoed version. And it establishes a firmer eligibility cap at 300 percent of the federal poverty line, just more than $60,000 for a family of four.
Those are valid concerns, but if you'll recall my post from a few days ago examining the details of the bill, the biggest problems I have with it are that it's to be funded with an increase in tobacco taxes, which is unlikely to pay for more than the outreach and enrollment provisions. I tend to agree with Rep. Joe Barton who compares this attempt with putting lipstick on a pig:
"It may a be a good pig. It may be a nice pig. It might be intended to be the right kind of pig," said Barton, the ranking Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. "But it's still a pig."
Some Republicans are complaining that the fires in California kept many of those who would have voted no from attending the vote. Ed Morrisey at Captain's Quarters has even more timing shenanigans from the Democrats:
So what happened today? The debate on HR 3963 will occur under a "closed rule" -- which means Republicans can't offer amendments. The GOP Whip claims that this is the 40th time that rule has been invoked by the majority. Also, the bill got filed last night at 11:25 pm, almost a midnight run, and the House started debating it at 11:20 this morning, just shy of 12 hours after publicizing the text. Most of the people debating this bill havenh't even read it yet.
Yeah, it does look like they're trying to sneak it in while everybody was distracted by other events. However, Bush has said he'll veto it again because it still has the stupid tobacco tax and outreach provisions. He's offered to bump up spending on the program to $20 million if those are taken out, but apparently those are the most important on the pro side.

The usual suspects are once again starting up with the robo-calls to Republicans and Democrats to get them to override, but something tells me they won't have any more luck than the last time because they're trying to sell it with lies.

I'll be on the lookout to see if those Families USA ads start popping up again. Which reminds me; Michelle Malkin has information on that WellCare raid in Florida that sent the stock for the company tumbling. Guess who was the initial investor?