Lautenberg, Menendez, Rothman, Pascrell, Holt Call On President, Congress To Extend Children's Health Insurance
Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ), Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Rep. Steve Rothman (D-NJ-09), Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ-08) and Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ-12) today called on President Bush and members of Congress to support extending health care coverage for children.
"President Bush's veto of the children's health insurance bill was a failure of moral leadership. The President is willing to spend $3 billion a week in Iraq but won't foot the bill for children to see a doctor when they are sick. Today I am calling on members of Congress from New Jersey and across the country to put our children's health first and vote to override the President's veto," said Sen. Lautenberg.
Sen. Menendez said, "The children that need this health coverage come from families who work in some of the toughest jobs in the nation - jobs that don't include health insurance. With his cold-hearted veto, the president has said that health coverage for these children who have nowhere else to turn is unworthy of a strong federal commitment. Overturning his veto is a matter of values: do we value our children, and do our actions match our values? We are standing together today because we do value our children, who are our strongest asset and our most fragile asset at the same time."
"The renewal of CHIP will improve the health and save the lives of millions of American children. The President's veto of Congress' CHIP legislation was unconscionable. His anti-government Republican colleagues in Congress were wrong to vote against the bill. They must put politics aside and vote to override Bush's shameful veto," said Congressman Steve Rothman (D-Fair Lawn).
"It is evident today that the President's veto has not deterred New Jersey's pursuit of a stronger more flexible children's health insurance program," stated U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-08). "Next week Congress must overturn the President's misguided SCHIP veto and truly commit to providing health insurance for millions of American children who are at risk of losing coverage. I implore those who have not supported the reauthorization to break ranks with the President's misguided political philosophy and put America's children first."
"At a time when America needs less partisanship and divisiveness, the President has chosen to play political games with the health of our children. It is unforgivable for him to oppose a program that means so much to so many. The veto threatens our state's own successful FamilyCare program that covers 124,000 children. I will work with the bipartisan supporters of this landmark legislation in the House of Representatives to override the President's veto," said Rep. Holt.
Sen. Lautenberg, Sen. Menendez, Rep. Rothman, Rep. Pascrell and Rep. Holt joined with state and local officials and representatives from family groups and organizations at the Garfield Health Center to urge support for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The facility is a federally qualified health center that provides primary health care to low and moderate income families and individuals.
In 2005, there were 9 million children without health insurance in America, including 250,000 in New Jersey. CHIP provides health insurance for low income children whose parents cannot afford to buy private insurance and earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid. This program provides coverage to 6 million children across the nation.
Last week, President Bush vetoed a bill to extend CHIP despite bipartisan support from Congress. The bill would have made health insurance available to more children in New Jersey and across the nation. Next week, there will be a vote in Congress to try to override the President's veto.