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October 17, 2007


October 17, 2007


House Set for Veto Override Vote on Children's Health Insurance

Later this week, the House of Representatives will take up the Children’s Health Insurance legislation – known as the SCHIP bill – to see if the bill can muster the two-thirds majority needed to override a presidential veto. The House and Senate passed the SCHIP earlier this year which was subsequently vetoed by President Bush.

Because the initial Senate vote provided a veto proof majority, attention now is focused on the House, where approximately 30 Republican offices that are seen by supporters of SCHIP as targets for changing their vote to supporting the SCHIP bill are receiving significant political pressure.

The bill would provide $35 billion for the federal/state program to purchase health insurance for children in families above Medicare eligibility limits who are unable to afford private health insurance. The President vetoed the bill citing spending concerns and fears that expanding the SCHIP program would be an unwarranted government expansion into providing health care.

The ATS has gone on record in support of the SCHIP legislation.

Research Funding

Senate to Consider Annual Health Research and Services Spending Bill

The Senate will consider the Fiscal Year 2008 Labor-Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations (Labor-HHS-ED) bill on the floor this week. This annual spending bill funds all health research and services. The President has already threatened to veto the bill because it is $23 billion in spending above the administration’s 2008 budget. Floor debate on the bill is expected to last several days, with a final Senate vote on the bill coming at the end of this week or early next week.

The Senate Labor-HHS-ED bill includes a 3.6% increase for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), while the bill passed by the House in July includes a 2.6% increase. Both bills would subtract 5% ($201 million) from NIH’s budget for the global AIDS fund. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also fares slightly better under the Senate bill, where it receives a 4.3% increase over the 4.0% increase in the House Labor-HHS bill. ATS members are asked to contact their two Senators to request that they vote for the Labor-HHS-ED bill to ensure that the NIH and CDC increases are enacted.

How to Take Action
You may contact your Senator's office in Washington by phone using the Capitol Switchboard. Call 202.224.3121 and ask for your Senator's office or give your state if you do not know their name. When connected to the office, ask for the Health Legislative Assistant. If you leave a voicemail message, include your name and phone number so that the staffer can call you back. A sample message is as follows:

"I am a constituent and a health provider from (your town) and I am calling to ask Sen. ____ to support increased funding for NIH and CDC by voting for the Fiscal Year 2008 Labor-Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations bill that will be considered by the Senate this week."

Points of Contact

Gary Ewart Senior Director, Government Relations
Nuala Moore Senior Legislative Representative
Joe Kirby DC Office Administrator