WASHINGTON — House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) slammed Republicans for including children’s health funding in a budget deal. It’s “like giving you a bowl of doggie-doo, put a cherry on top and call it a chocolate sundae — this is nothing,” she said.
The Children’s Health Insurance Program, Pelosi told reporters at a news conference today, “should have been done in September, first of all — second of all, we wanted 10 years.”
“We wanted permanent CHIP. Which, by the way, saves $6 billion. Republicans rejected that, even just on the terms of CHIP. They rejected the 10-year, saving $6 billion. Doing it for six years saves $1 billion. That’s good. Doing it 10 years, saving $6 billion is better. In fact, it’s best,” she said. “So — and in addition, for the CHIP program to be effective, you have to have community health centers. But they’re running out of money, too. And in order for us to meet the needs, health needs, of many in our community, we have to have the extenders, the health extenders. It’s always been a package. It’s always been a package.”
“So when we talk about community health centers, we talk about the Medicare extenders, home visiting care, Medicare DSH, Medicaid DSH? Very big. I don’t know how you get out into the hinterlands, but if you do, people will talk to you about the DSH payments. Therapy services, diabetes for Native Americans. The teaching health centers. This is for our primary care docs, so largely the ones who take care of the children,” Pelosi continued.
“They could have easily put all of this in this bill. They could have easily put all of this in this bill. Why didn’t they? Because they want to spend their money on tax cuts instead of investments in the health and well-being of our children and their families.”
Congress is barreling toward a Friday deadline of striking a short- or long-term budget deal, or the government shutting down.
“CHIP should be part of a long term solution, not a 30 Day, or short term, extension!” President Trump tweeted today.
At his own press conference, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) rattled off “Alabama, Connecticut, Kentucky, Louisiana, Oregon, Virginia, Washington state — these are states that are running out of CHIP money if we don’t get this thing passed, and I can’t imagine why somebody would want to vote against doing that.”
Ryan has been dangling a six-year extension of CHIP funding to lure over enough Democrats, irked that an immigration deal is not included, to pass a one-month continuing resolution. The deal also delays some Obamacare taxes. Some Republicans don’t like the plan’s lower-than-desired defense spending.
“I think that Democrats should join us in passing this bill, and I feel like we’re in a good place,” Ryan said, adding that Trump “fully supports passing this legislation.”
Ryan said trying to include long-term program funding for CHIP in a monthlong spending bill is “actually not causing us problems at all.”
“Yes, it’s a — CHIP funding’s unique in how it works. Because some states are doing fine, they have more money, and some states don’t, and these short-term patches don’t fix those problems. So you really do have states that are actually, legitimately running out of money and the short-term patches don’t fix those states. Right behind these seven states are a whole another tranche of states that will run out of money,” he said. “We figured out on a bipartisan basis how to renew and extend the CHIP program. It’s a bipartisan program.”
“…If the Senate Democrats want to shut the government down, or if the Senate Democrats want to deny funding for our troops, if the Senate Democrats want to stop CHIP funding for unrelated issues, that’s a choice they would make. I don’t think it’s a good choice for them to make, but that would be their decision to make.”