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Congressional spending battle ensnares CHIP funding

Congressional spending battle ensnares CHIP funding

Republicans attached a six-year extension of CHIP to their current government funding bill to win over Democrats. Parents of the 9 million children insured through the Children's Health Insurance Program, known as CHIP, are panicking because funding for the program has almost run out.

CHIP funding expired September 30.

Toledo Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur - who voted against the bill - criticized Republicans for excluding Democrats from bill negotiations and for failing to pass a long term budget instead a series of temporary fixes whose expiration risks shutdowns.

Even some Republicans have signaled they could vote against the short-term spending bill. So far, the two parties have not come to a deal on the issue and Democrats threatened to vote against the new short-term funding extension due to the lack of a DACA solution.

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It seems by midday Thursday, the White House got on board with congressional Republicans' plan to pressure Democrats by using sick kids as a bargaining lever against undocumented young people.

There are a few reasons why Democrats don't want to support this bill-and apparently will not, as it now stands-but the main one, as McConnell alluded to, was the fact that the bill contains no resolution to the immigration policy known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which safeguard the citizenship of the "dreamers" who were moved to the U.S.as children. House Speaker Paul Ryan accused Democrats who oppose the bill of wanting to shut down the government and deny funding for the military and children's health insurance.

If Congress can't agree on a plan to fund the federal government before time runs out, a shutdown is expected to affect millions of Americans. As I have said before, Nevada's ability to provide CHIP to these children is coming to a preventable end because of the elimination of federal funding. While a 30-day funding extension passed the House Thursday evening, it looks set to fail in the Senate. Fauci stressed that patients now in NIH-run studies - including those at the research-only hospital often called the "house of hope" - wouldn't be adversely affected even if President Donald Trump and Congress don't reach a budget deal to avert a shutdown at midnight Friday.

"We believe that the bill will pass and the President will have an opportunity to sign it", White House spokesman Raj Shah told reporters.


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