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Pickering Votes to Sustain President's Veto

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

"We must end partisan politics and put our children in need first"

Today in the House of Representatives, the President's veto was upheld

(273-156). Congressman Chip Pickering issued the following statement regarding his vote to sustain the President's veto and his position on the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).

"There is no doubt in my mind that the SCHIP program needs to be reauthorized. After paying for healthcare, our American families still have a mortgage, bills, groceries, and basic everyday necessities that have to be purchased. Mississippi families rely on the SCHIP program. However, I voted to sustain the President's override because we need to make sure that our poorest children are covered first before we expand this program. The current bill did not provide coverage to the neediest kids first; instead it would raise your taxes while expanding SCHIP to adults and illegal aliens. Also, it would move our children covered under private insurance to a government funded program."

"In 1997, Republicans helped create SCHIP and remain supportive in its original mission. I voted to establish this program and believe money set aside for low-income children should be used to cover low-income children. SCHIP was created to put poor kids first. I am committed to finding a solution we can all agree on. The children in Mississippi are my main concern and deserve congressional support and cooperation to help them. They don't deserve endless political disagreements and failure to work together for a reasonable solution."

The Democratic Bill Is Not Right for Mississippi:

Covers Adults and Families with Incomes 400% Over the Poverty Level

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Mississippi has 426,000 children at or below the 200% poverty level. Out of that number, 88,000 children are uninsured. The Department of Health and Human Services projects that 13 states will spend more than 44% of FY08 SCHIP funding on childless adults. The number of adults enrolled in SCHIP for FY06 was 700,596. Each one of these adults equals one less child that can be covered.

Covers Illegal Aliens

This legislation says that simply writing down a Social Security number is good enough to prove you are a citizen. The bill doesn't require that an applicant provide identification or demonstrate that he or she could be the actual owner of the number.

Will Move Enrollees From Private Insurance to Government Insurance

According to Congressional Budget Office, 1/3 of newly enrolled are coming from private coverage. 1.6 million of the 4.4 million new enrollees will come off of private coverage.

"Many steps have been taken by Congress to reauthorize SCHIP. I voted for the current temporary extension which is in effect now. Also, I was a cosponsor of the SCHIP extension bill (HR 3584) and recently signed onto a rule to reintroduce this bill in the House. The SCHIP extension bill would reauthorize and fully fund the existing SCHIP program for an additional 18 months. This will allow Congress time to find the right permanent solution for the program without putting our neediest children at risk."

"The bottom line is SCHIP must serve the eligible low-income children first, should not force children out of private health insurance, and should cover American children. We will not settle on a bill that compromises these issues and will continue to work on a bi-partisan renewal of this program. Every dollar that is spent on a childless adult in SCHIP is a dollar that cannot be spent on a needy, low-income, uninsured child in Mississippi. We must end partisan politics and put our children in need first! We can and should find common ground to meet these critical needs."

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