Tuesday :: Sep 25, 2007

Grassley: Target Fellow Republicans Over SCHIP Rejection

by Steve

How bad is the Bush GOP when a senior GOP senator calls out the president for sandbagging the nation’s uninsured children, and then suggests that the Democrats target GOP senators and representatives who side with the president against the SCHIP expansion? That’s exactly what Iowa GOP senator Chuck Grassley is doing, in expressing his displeasure about the White House’s attempt to stop a bipartisan expansion of SCHIP with a Bush veto and a probable failed override attempt in the House.

According to the Washington Post today, Grassley told the White House months ago that if it wanted to make the case that the best way to cover more children was to give tax breaks to low income people who can’t afford insurance in the first place, then the White House should get out there and round up the votes for it. Yet months passed, and the White House did nothing to sell it. Instead, the administration focused on the cost of the expansion and its financing with a tobacco tax increase.

But when Grassley demanded to know in August why exactly the White House was opposing something that had the broad bipartisan approval of Congress, the nation’s governors, and the insurance industry, Bush flip-flopped and told him it wasn’t about the cost but the principle of wanting Congress to take his all-or-nothing demand of more tax breaks, a response that surprised and angered Grassley since the administration had done nothing to round up the votes themselves for months. As a result, Grassley says the White House is holding children’s health insurance “hostage” to a policy goal that they haven’t taken the time to sell themselves.

And what does Grassley recommend happen after the Senate overrides a Bush veto and John Boehner kills the override the House?

Grassley said if he were the Democrats, he would send the SCHIP expansion to a vote every three months, along with campaign advertisements accusing Republicans of abandoning children. That way, pressure would mount either on Bush to sign the bill or on House Republicans to override the veto.

That’s a senior GOP senator telling the Democrats to go after his fellow Republicans for harming kids.

Steve :: 7:56 AM :: Comments (4) :: Digg It!