Well, well, well. After all that Doing It For The Children hyperventilation, after all the finger-pointing and foot-stomping, after all the kiddie human shield-waving, after all the teeth-gnashing vows not to surrender on their massive S-CHIP entitlement expansion, the Democrat have, yes, surrendered.
You will remember that Harry Reid and the desperate, Do-Nothing Democrats blamed the Republicans for obstructing funding for The Children. They attempted to tie S-CHIP funding to war funding. Then they planned to tie it to next year’s election.
Now, they’ve decided to just give up and do what the Republicans proposed to do all along. Fund it without the massive expansion. Via The Hill:
The Democrats’ yearlong fight to boost federal spending on children’s health insurance ended with a whimper Tuesday.
After coming up short in their efforts to enact a $35 billion expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) — enduring two presidential vetoes along the way — congressional Democrats signed off on Republican demands to extend the program until 2009.
Rather than expiring just before the presidential and congressional elections next year, SCHIP will keep running through March 2009 under the plan originally conceived by House Republicans and hashed out by the Senate Finance Committee and Senate leaders late Monday…
….The GOP claimed victory. “It’s certainly another example of the Democrats caving to the Republican position at the eleventh hour,” said a spokesman for House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio).
Not only did the GOP prevent the Democrats from expanding the program, the minority party prevented the majority party from using an SCHIP vote and veto next fall as a wedge issue just before Election Day.
“Making it January or February or March of 2009 limits the possibility Democrats would use this as an election-year issue to try and create a false sense of urgency to pass inherently bad policy,” Boehner’s spokesman said.
The Senate approved the extension Tuesday afternoon by unanimous consent, and the House was expected to offer its approval soon, the Hill reports.
So the Dems will fund the existing program. But they won’t shut up just yet. To appease the nutroots, they’ll proceed with plans to override President Bush’s veto and continue to labor under the illusion that they have support for ramming through their entitlement Trojan Horse:
House Democrats are not walking away from SCHIP, said a spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). For a start, the House will vote on Jan. 23 to attempt to override President Bush’s second SCHIP veto.
Moreover, the enactment of the extension does not mean Congress cannot do more, the spokesman said. “It does not preclude us from bringing up a strong, bipartisan bill,” he said. “The goal here is to cover 10 million children. That’s why discussions will continue. … If there is an opportunity to have a vote on this legislation, absolutely we will have one,” he said.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) painted the Republicans as obstructionists on SCHIP and a plethora of other issues. “What we have is the Republicans are digging in their heels for the status quo,” he said.
“We are going to get healthcare for 10 million children done. If it takes a new president, it takes a new president,” a House Democratic leadership aide said. “President Obama or President Clinton could executive-order 10 million children into healthcare,” the aide said, referring to the Democratic senators and leading presidential contenders Barack Obama (Ill.) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.).
Republicans who believe they have postponed the next fight over SCHIP until 2009 and that that postponement provides them with political cover will be proved wrong, Pelosi’s spokesman said. States and outside groups will continue to bring pressure on Congress to do more on SCHIP next year, he added.
Likewise, the Democratic leadership aide predicted that voters would remember votes against the larger SCHIP bills next November, regardless of what happens throughout 2008. “That vote is still incredibly important and still incredibly powerful,” the aide said.
Are these people aware of the message sent by liberal Oregon voters who rejected health care entitlement expansions funded with cigarette tax hikes? They said no. N-O.
What part of N-O don’t they understand?
And who are the losers, Harry?