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Blunt Applauds Passage of Republican-Crafted SCHIP Extension

WASHINGTON, Dec. 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- House Republican Whip Roy Blunt (Mo.) issued the following statement this afternoon on Republican efforts to extend funding under the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) through March 2009:

"On this, one of the final days of the first session of the 110th Congress, the majority finally decided to adopt the plan Republicans had suggested for months - a proposal to extend the current SCHIP program through the rest of this year, the entire next year, and into 2009.

"For months, a group of House Republicans worked in good faith to craft a reasonable compromise on this vital piece of legislation. Now that we've finally been given the chance to extend the program, the political pressure the majority had tried to build - and hoped to someday use - to push through a hastily-crafted bill has been relieved. If the majority decides to continue these discussions in the next session, it's my sincere hope they'll come to the table in a serious fashion with serious, reachable goals - not for the purpose of engaging in political theater. I don't have any doubt the American people would see through a ruse like that in any year, and especially during one in which a national election is being held.

"The bottom line is House Republicans believe that any SCHIP bill must put poor kids first and must ensure that illegal immigrants are not granted taxpayer-funded benefits. These are common sense principles that must be acknowledged by congressional Democrats if it's their true intent to get legislation passed into law."

NOTE: The Medicare-SCHIP package that passed the House today includes an extension of SCHIP through March 2009, mirroring legislation sponsored by Reps. Joe Barton, R-Texas, and Nathan Deal, R-Ga. The bill also includes a provision to stave off a 0.5% reduction in federal payments to physicians through June 2008.

SOURCE House Republican Whip Roy Blunt
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