Leave it to CNN’s “American Morning” to just not get it when it comes to curbing the growth of government.
“[T]he House last night voted to authorize this new children’s health insurance program – $35 billion additional funding over five years. The Senate’s going to take it up in the next couple of days. President Bush is vowing to veto it. Why? Is that going to hurt him and Republicans as well?” asked a dumbfounded John Roberts on the September 26 “American Morning.”
But Bush has explained on several occasions that the bill “goes too far toward federalizing health care.” A press release issued by the White House on September 21 dispelled the myth that Bush is against reauthorizing the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). In fact, he also proposed increased funding for the program – a more modest increase of $5 billion over five years.
“Instead of working with my administration to enact this funding increase for children's health, Democrats in Congress have decided to pass a bill they know will be vetoed,” Bush said in his weekly radio address. “One of their leaders has even said such a veto would be a ‘political victory.’ As if this weren't irresponsible enough, Congress is waiting until the SCHIP program is just about to expire before passing a final bill. In other words, members of Congress are risking health coverage for poor children purely to make a political point.”
CNN Senior Political Analyst Gloria Borger expressed her own opinion over Bush’s veto pledge in a conversation with Roberts.
“Well, Republicans that I talked to are saying ‘why is he picking this particular fight for a veto?’” said Borger. “This is only his third veto, John. If he had done a hundred vetoes before this, maybe they could make the case that this is about big-government spending.”
But it’s not just about government spending – and it also makes you wonder which Republicans Borger is talking to. According to the September 26 Washington Post, only 45 of the 201 Republicans in the House of Representatives voted for the bill, even though it was described as a “measure that draws significant bipartisan support” by the Associated Press on September 22.
At least one Republican congressman who voted against the bill gave specific reasons. Rep. Jo Bonner (Ala.) said in a press release on September 25 he voted against it not only because he sees it as a “step toward socialized medicine,” but “it also weakens citizenship verification standards for illegal immigrants, enables a state to qualify a family making more than $100,000 to receive benefits, and encourages government dependency.”
“I didn’t run for Congress because I believe Americans should be taxed more or because I think the federal government should take over every aspect of our lives from the cradle to the grave,” Bonner said.
Still that reasoning wasn’t enough for Borger – because reason is often absent when someone invokes the children.
“[A]nytime you hear about an increase in program money for children’s health, that’s supposed to be a good thing and not a bad thing,” an emotionally charged Borger said. “So, Republicans are probably going to desert him, but he’ll still probably get enough votes to sustain this veto.”