Democrats gave President George W. Bush a drubbing in the last election, and they can’t believe he’s again providing them with an opening as he threatens to veto the expansion and re-authorization of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).
"I just don’t know what he’s thinking about," said state Sen. Joseph Vitale in a telephone interview as he returned from a press conference with Gov. Jon Corzine, who today announced his decision to join a lawsuit with seven other states against the Bush administration.
"If the bill goes through, almost half of New Jersey's 250,000 children without healthcare would receive healthcare," said Eve Weisman of New Jersey Citizen Action.
But Bush is calling the bill a jumpstart to universal health insurance, and instead wants to offer tax credits to families so they can purchase their own private coverage.
Children in a family of four making 250% of the poverty level — or up to $52,000 per year — would be eligible under the SCHIP bill that passed last week in the U.S. Senate. Democrats who champion SCHIP’s expansion in New Jersey point out that the cost of living here is three times the national average.
"SCHIP is an unqualified success in New Jersey and in states across the nation, and the Bush Administration’s determination to pursue a course of action that will harm our children’s health is incomprehensible," Corzine said in a statement.
U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-MD, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said of the radio ad the party on Monday began runningon U.S.Rep. Jim Saxton's turf in the 3rd Congressional District, "We're going district by district to tell Republicans and President Bush to stop obstructing progress and start putting children first. Republicans who continue to vote in lockstep with President Bush and against children will be held accountable."