Earlier today, Senate Democrats agreed to advance a Continuing Resolution (CR) that would reopen the government and its critical services. Also included in the CR was a six-year extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the longest extension in the program’s 20-year history. The CR passed the Senate and House earlier today.
Oregon Public Broadcasting reports, “The children’s health program, which covers about 120,000 children and pregnant women in Oregon, expired at the end of September. Since then, it’s been kept alive by stop-gap funding as lawmakers from both sides squabbled over how to pay for it.”
The House of Representatives also previously passed H.R. 3922, the CHAMPIONING HEALTHY KIDS Act, extending funding for CHIP, Community Health Centers and other important public health programs, on November 3, 2017, largely without Democratic support.
“We didn’t have to be here, and you sure as heck didn’t have to shut down the government. Our choice yesterday was vote to fund the government, or not. Vote to fund children’s health insurance for 9 million children and, by the way, for states like mine that also includes DACA kids,” said Chairman Walden in a speech on the House Floor on Saturday. “So when you voted against that yesterday, you voted not to provide insurance to children and pregnant women in our states. That is wrong. We are here to govern. We are governing as Republicans. We will get this government up and running and we will take care of those children.”
Today, the House and Senate governed, sending a six-year CHIP extension to President Trump’s desk. He is expected to sign it shortly.
Greg Walden Wins Shutdown Battle Over Children’s Health Care
Rep. Greg Walden — Oregon’s sole Republican member of Congress — claimed a big legislative victory as the three-day government shutdown was ending Monday.
As chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Walden played a key role in tying continuation of the popular Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, to a bill ending the government shutdown.
“It’s nice to get a critically important health care issue passed and into law and give certainty for families in Oregon,” Walden said in an interview with OPB on Monday, hours before Congress sent the measure to President Donald Trump for his signature.
Walden also expressed skepticism about whether Congress could come to any agreements on immigration before the latest government funding extension expires Feb. 8. Congressional Democrats, and some Republicans, pushed hard to provide protection for immigrants brought here illegally by their parents when they were children.
“I think that’s pretty unrealistic, if you want to know the truth,” Walden said, adding that immigration reform “is tough stuff to get done or it would have been done a long time ago.”
The children’s health program, which covers about 120,000 children and pregnant women in Oregon, expired at the end of September. Since then, it’s been kept alive by stop-gap funding as lawmakers from both sides squabbled over how to pay for it.
Walden chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over the issue. Democratic leaders on the committee argued that Walden and other Republicans wanted to gut funding for health programs associated with the Affordable Care Act to pay for CHIP.
Walden scoffed at that and repeatedly accused Democrats of jeopardizing the health of the program’s recipients.
The dispute was recently resolved when the Congressional Budget Office said a long extension of the program would actually save money by not forcing recipients into insurance coverage that would have more expensive government subsidies. The bill passed on Monday renews the program for six years.
To read the article online, click HERE.