Sunday, October 14, 2007

House Falling Short on SCHIP Override

The Washington Post reports:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) reversed her stance from a week earlier, appearing resigned Sunday that Democrats would not convince enough Republicans to pass an expansion of a children's health insurance program over President Bush's veto.

"Isn't that sad for America's children?" she asked on ABC's "This Week." Her second appearance on a Sunday talk show in as many weeks came days before the House is expected to vote again on the State Children's Health Insurance Program.

Last week, Pelosi was far more optimistic about the chances of overriding Bush's veto, saying on "Fox News Sunday" that the Democrats needed "about 14 Republican votes" to reach the required two-thirds majority.

This week, it was Pelosi's Republican counterpart, House Minority Leader John Boehner (Ohio), who was facing questions on Fox, and he said he was confident that "we will have the votes to sustain the president's veto."

The White House has signaled it wants to find a compromise with Democrats over the program, but any agreement seemed distant today.

Pelosi said she has never heard from Bush about the program and she reiterated a point she made last week, that she is unwilling to support legislation that would cover fewer children than the current bill's 10 million.

The Senate already has a sufficient majority to override the veto, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) predicted on ABC that the White House and congressional Democrats would strike a deal.

"Neither side is going to leave these kids uninsured. It's become kind of a political football, which is really unfortunate. But the coverage is going to be provided in some way," McConnell said.