Vetoes and V-22s
Even with Texas Congressional Republicans supporting it, Bush vetoes the SCHIP extension
By Richard Whittaker,
3:21PM, Wed. Oct. 3, 2007
A couple of days ago, Sen. Eliot Shapleigh, D-El Paso, made an ominous but prescient statement on his website. "Waiting for George W. Bush to veto the children's health insurance bill made me think about health care in Texas. Soon, all America will know that Texas is dead last in health."
And now the president has dropped the veto axe on the extension State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) expansion that had gained bipartisan support in both houses of the US Congress.
This step may not just show a disconnect between the White House and the average American, but between Bush and the overwhelming majority of national politicians within his own party. House Resolution HR 976 skipped through the House 360-45, and with an equally impressive 68-31 in the Senate. But where did Texas stand on the issue? Even with seven of the 45 votes against the original bill coming from Texans (Jeb Hensarling, John Abney Culberson, K. Michael Conaway, Mac Thornberry, Randy Neugebauer, Ted Poe and Michael Burgess – Republicans to a man), the Lone Star House caucus was still overwhelmingly for the extension, as were the majority of its GOPers. Even arch-tax-cutter Ron Paul voted for it. In the upper chamber, it was an unsurprising split vote, with Cornyn going nay and Hutchison aye.
So $35 billion to extend SCHIP for 5 years was more than the president could stomach. Meanwhile, the 110th Congress had no issues passing, or seemingly the president accepting, a $17 billion increase in just next year's defense procurement budget, including yet more cash for the V-22 Osprey, a boondoggle project so fatally flawed that even Dick Cheney had tried to have it canceled 20 years ago. (see Mark Thompson's excellent article in Time for a fuller analysis of your tax dollars at work.)