So-called 'compromise' SCHIP Bill passes house

Published 12:50 pm Monday, October 29, 2007

By By Jo Bonner
The so-called "compromise" S-CHIP bill brought to the House floor late last week was filled with nothing but empty promises.
Since the first S-CHIP bill was brought to the House floor in September, many of my Republican colleagues and I have been eager to support a bill that extends and expands health coverage to American kids from low-income families – not adults, illegal immigrants, or wealthier families.
In fact, House Republicans and the Administration have expressed a strong desire to provide the necessary money to ensure adequate expansion of S-CHIP.
Sadly, now when the House has the opportunity to come together and develop a true compromise, the majority, instead, is continuing to play political games. While claiming that the "compromise" bill addresses our concerns, only superficial changes have been made to the old S-CHIP bill.
The legislation passed by a vote of 265-142 – but it failed to garner enough to override a presidential veto. The Senate is scheduled to consider the bill this week, and the president has once again vowed to veto this bill – as this bill is a "compromise" in name only – amounting to nothing more than a propaganda stunt aimed at fueling the belief that Republicans do not care about children.
Twenty-six members of Congress did not vote, many of whom are members of the California delegation. They had returned to their districts to help their constituents as fires continued to ravage the southern portion of the state, and the House leadership proceeded to schedule an important vote on this bill.
Regretfully, this is the same leadership team that delayed an earlier S-CHIP vote by two weeks in order to accommodate attack ads by; however, when a natural disaster has burned more than 490,000 acres – an area half the size of the state of Rhode Island – and destroyed over 3,500 homes, they refused to delay the vote by even one legislative day.
Unfortunately, Speaker Pelosi and her team last week exploited the absence of these members in an attempt to pass yet another S-CHIP bill that still fails to cover poor American kids first.
Improvements in Iraq
Leading House Democrats are continuing to declare the war in Iraq has been all but lost. When the brave men and women of our armed forces are still in harm's way – the House majority leader issued a press release stating "we cannot continue to sink endless amounts of money into a war that is not making Americans safer."
The facts, however, would prove otherwise. October is on course to record the second consecutive decline in U.S. military and Iraqi civilian deaths – in short – the surge is working.
As of last week, there were 28 U.S. military deaths in the month of October, compared to 65 in September. While the number of Iraqi civilians and security forces has not seen such a dramatic decline, it is clear progress is being made.
With clear evidence the troop surge is effective, many of those in Congress who oppose our efforts in Iraq refuse to admit progress is being made. In fact, many segments of the left wing media are even refusing to report good news.
Earlier this month, ABC's Charles Gibson introduced a segment about Iraq on "World News Tonight" by stating, "The news is that there is no news. The police told us today that, to their knowledge, there were no major acts of violence. Attacks are down in Baghdad and today no bombings or roadside explosions were reported."
I'm sorry, but when more than 3,800 Americans have sacrificed their lives in Iraq "no news" is in fact very good news for democratic countries throughout the world.
Earlier this year, when asked if Army Gen. David Petraeus' September report were to paint a generally positive picture of the situation in Iraq, House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) recognized that it would be "a real big problem for us there's no question about that."
The evidence of improvement in Iraq continues to mount. While clearly there is still much work to do in Iraq, it's a shame that many politicians and members of the liberal press are so intent on claiming defeat.
Fires Continue to Ravage California
At the writing of this column, fires were continuing to ravage large parts of southern California. With the largest evacuation in the state's history and 321,000 mandatory evacuees, many of us have been reminded of the horrors of Hurricane Katrina.
Late last week, the president traveled to California to see the damage first-hand. Throughout this tragedy, we have seen the strong leadership of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, and FEMA Director David Paulison.
When there is clear leadership at the state level – as we witnessed in Alabama and Mississippi in the wake of Hurricane Katrina – and agencies at all levels of government work together, we can take even a terrible tragedy and make it better.
At this difficult time, our thoughts and prayers certainly go out to all of the people of southern California.
My staff and I work for you. If we can ever be of service, do not hesitate to call my office toll free at 1-800-288-8721 or visit my website
Jo Bonner is a U.S. congressman. His column appears weekly.

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