Senate Democrats

Reid: Republicans Again Refuse To Take Yes For An Answer On Children’s Health Bill

Washington, DCSenate Majority Leader Harry Reid made the following statement today in response to Senate Republicans’ repeated objections to delay taking up the children’s health legislation, even though some Republicans were the ones requesting we postpone consideration of the CHIP bill:

“Republicans have now twice asked for more time on the children’s health bill and have twice objected when we granted their request.  Whether it’s the President making up phony excuse after phony excuse to oppose CHIP or Republican leaders repeatedly using procedural delays, it is obvious that there are some who will do anything to stand in the way of enacting this bill.  They are more committed to standing in the way of bipartisan progress than to helping America’s children.”

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Mr. Reid: Madam President, I’ve had a number of conversations this morning with Democrat and Republican Senators. They’re attempting to work out a compromise with the CHIP bill, Children’s Health Insurance Program. They think if they have more time, they can do that. I believe that they’re acting in all sincerity. They’ve tried very hard. They have even had individual meetings with house members. Democratic Senators have met with Republican House members, and Democrat and Republican Senators have met with Republican House members. And they’ve tried to work something out. It’s an unusual situation. They’ve even been calling the Speaker. A number of the prime negotiators have talked to her numerous times on the telephone and met with her personally. Having said that, Madam President, this is an effort to try to work something out. I ask consent that the bill be laid aside until 4:00 p.m. this Monday, November 5, and on that day, Monday, November 5, the Senate vote on cloture on the bill at 5:00 p.m. If cloture is invoked there be two hours of debate on the bill and any possible germane amendments thereto, and that at the conclusion or yielding back of the time the Senate proceed to vote under provisions of Rule 22.          

The presiding officer: Is there objection?          

Mr. McConnell: Madam President, on behalf of one of the Members on my side of the aisle, I would have to object.          

The presiding officer: Objection is heard.         

Mr. Reid: In an effort to continue to try to be cooperative in this matter, I ask consent to allow these individuals more time to deal with this and therefore ask to proceed to this legislation, H.R. 3963, that it be adopted and the bill be laid aside until the disposition of the farm bill, 2419. Now that, Madam President, would probably not be until, at the earliest, somewhere in the middle of November sometime.The presiding officer: Is there objection?          

Mr. McConnell: Madam President, once again there is an objection on this side of the aisle.        

The presiding officer: Objection is heard.          

Mr. Reid: Madam President, of course I am disappointed. But it’s something that I have tried to keep the Republican Leader advised. I’ve done my best to balance the requests of – and I usually don’t get in this position of Democrat and Republican Senators, but I’ve been happy to do that. And this is my effort to try to do that. I hope that there can be some way sometime that we can send a bill to the President that he won’t veto. Hopefully this one he won’t. We’ve made some changes in it, as I’ve indicated. We’ve changed, no waivers over 300%. We’ve locked in more tightly anything dealing with undocumented children. We have cut the time for adults, any adults who are on the program with no children, they were to have two years; now it’s one year. So we’ve moved the best we can. Having done that, Madam President, I now ask consent that the senate now proceed to the consideration of the Children’s Health Insurance Bill 3963.

[Senate floor proceedings, 11/1/07]

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