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Pelosi: In 48 Hours, Congress Must Choose Between Meeting the Needs of America's Children or Not

WASHINGTON, Oct. 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senator Orrin Hatch were joined by singer Paul Simon, Families USA, Easter Seals, and other advocates at a news conference this morning to urge Members of Congress to override the President's veto of the Children's Health Insurance Program. Below are Pelosi's opening remarks:

"Thank you, Ron Pollack, to Families USA, to Easter Seals, and to the representatives of the many organizations that are here with us on behalf of America's children.

"I too want to join in welcoming Paul Simon, not only because I'm a big fan of his music, but for reasons that Ron Pollack mentioned. I'll add to them and say that the Children's Health Fund, under the leadership of Paul Simon and Dr. Irwin Redlener, has been so active in helping to meet the needs of the children of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. So thank you very much Paul Simon, for not letting any of America's children go slip slidin' away.

"Senator Hatch is the father of this Children's Health Insurance Program. Ten years ago, he founded it and it was effectively passed into law. He has been its guardian ever since. Because of him and Senator Grassley, we have bipartisan legislation that meets the needs of America's children - 10 million of them. Everyone who cares about children's health in our country is deeply indebted to Senator Hatch.

"You see before you these champions for America's children. You see before you representatives of America's children, and those in need of health care. By-in-large they are healthy and we want them to stay that way. And when they are not, we want them to have the best possible care. And that means the earliest intervention, prevention, nutrition, and any care that they need to keep them healthy. That is an American value.

"We are gathered here today because of children's health. It's not an issue, it's an ethic, it's a value that overwhelmingly the American people support.

"As we stand here today, across the country, governors of many of the states from both parties are fighting to override the President's veto. Of course, the mayors are as well; they've had children at the top of their agenda as have the governors for a long time.

"Organizations from AARP, the AMA, and YWCA and everything alphabetically in between, including the Catholic Hospitals Association, are out there advocating for an override of this cruel veto.

"In a couple of days, in 48 hours, Congress will have a choice: a choice between meeting the needs of America's children or not. And 'not' means that states are already making plans to remove children already enrolled in SCHIP from the rolls. That is totally unacceptable.

"Because of the bipartisan nature of SCHIP, because of the bicameral agreement that we have, we have great strength. Time will tell, 48 hours, as to whether we will override the veto. But no matter what happens then, we will continue to fight to insure 10 million children.

"Think of it this way, for what we spend in 40 days in Iraq, 10 million children could be insured for one year in America. Let's put our values in order.

"With that, I'm very pleased to welcome to the podium and express my appreciation for his tremendous leadership, Senator Harry Reid. As the Majority Leader of the Senate, he has told me that no issue in his career in Congress has taken more concentration, more time, and of course more of his dedication than SCHIP. Thank you Senator Reid for your leadership on this important issue."

SOURCE Office of the Speaker of the House
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