Revised SCHIP Bill Unable to Defeat Veto, Again

The children's health insurance bill known as SCHIP came up for a vote again in the House. It was revised a bit by Democrats to try to gain enough Republican votes to override President Bush's promised veto. But they fell short once again.

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

Just a week after failing to override President Bush's veto of a popular children's health insurance bill, House Democratic leaders brought a new bill to a vote yesterday. They were hoping that some small changes would be enough to win over the dozen or so Republicans that they needed to overcome the president's opposition. They wanted to override the veto eventually.

NPR's Julie Rovner reports on what happened next.

JULIE ROVNER: In revising the SCHIP bill, House Democrats took their cues from a letter written last week by 38 House Republicans. Those Republicans said they support expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program, but they had some specific problems with the bill the president vetoed. So the Democrats set out to fix those problems, said New Jersey Democrat Frank Pallone.

Representative FRANK PALLONE Jr. (Democrat, New Jersey): The Democrats, and this is again, bipartisan, with the Senate Republicans who have gone out of their way to try to address the concerns that some of the Republicans have expressed.

ROVNER: But in the end, it wasn't enough to win over a single one of the 38 letter signers. Here's how Ginny Brown-Waite of Florida put it.

Representative VIRGINIA BROWN-WAITE (Republican, Florida): What we have here today is kind of what a farmer in my district once told me. He said you can take horsemen or - and roll it in powdered sugar and it doesn't make it a doughnut.

ROVNER: The final vote on the new version of the bill was 265 to 142, but the 43 Republican yes votes were actually one fewer than the number that voted to override President Bush's veto last week. And the president has promised to veto this version of the bill, too.

Julie Rovner, NPR News, Washington.

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