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Pelosi on Bush Veto of SCHIP: 'Democrats Will Not Rest Until 10 Million Children Have Access to Health Care'

WASHINGTON, Dec. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Majority Whip James E. Clyburn, and Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel held a news conference late this afternoon in the Capitol on the SCHIP bill. Shortly after the news conference, President Bush vetoed the bill. Below are the Speaker's opening remarks:

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"Good afternoon. It is reported that later today that the President will veto the SCHIP bill. Once again, he will veto the SCHIP bill.

"This is indeed a sad action for him to take, because so many children in our country need access to quality health care. That is why we were able to pass with strong bipartisan support, in the House and Senate, with the veto-proof majority in the Senate, legislation that would cover 10 million children in America at the cost of $35 billion. It was all paid for.

"We worked in a bipartisan manner to bring the first bill to the floor and the second bill to the floor. Since that time, Mr. Hoyer has been engaged in negotiations with Republicans in the House trying to meet their concerns. Mr. Rahm Emanuel was present at the birth of SCHIP in the Clinton White House, so he has taken a very major interest in this legislation.

"The health of our children is of the highest priority to the Democrats in the Congress of the United States. This holiday season, when families should be thinking about toys and presents for their children - my grandchildren celebrate Chanukah and Christmas, Rahm - instead, their parents are concerned about their having access to health care. It just isn't right.

"So I would hope and pray that the President might have a change of heart at the last minute, but the reality is that the President has spoken. He has said he will veto the bill.

"Let it be clear that Democrats will not rest until 10 million children in America have access to health care, and that it is paid for. Let it be clear that we will persist with this effort.

"We will try to continue the negotiations with our Republican colleagues, but we will try to introduce legislation immediately that will cover the shortfall between now and the end of the fiscal year, September 30, and at the same time we will be working for the bigger bill. We want to protect the health care of the children who are on SCHIP now, and we're working to expand that to the 10 million children.

"Because there are some votes on the floor, I want to quickly yield to my colleague, Mr. Hoyer, the Democratic Leader, and thank him for his leadership, for his patience - 20 meetings, I think he had, with Members and their staff to try to meet their concerns. I thought we had done so in the second bill we sent to the floor. Clearly more work needs to be done to convince the Republicans that health care in America for our children is important. Thank you, Mr. Leader, for making it a priority."

Source: Office of the Speaker of the House

Courtesy of PRNewswire (2007) All Rights Reserved.

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