House Dem calls for bipartisan talks to fund children’s health care

House Dem calls for bipartisan talks to fund children’s health care
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The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s top Democrat is calling for renewed negotiations on a bill to fund children’s health care and other programs after the panel approved a partisan measure Wednesday.

Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) expressed concern in a statement Thursday that “Republicans’ actions in Committee make it more difficult to come to a bipartisan agreement and will further delay reauthorization of [the Children’s Health Insurance Program], Community Health Centers and other important public health laws.”

Funding for both expired at the end of September, though states have enough money to run their children’s health programs until at least December. Yet, advocates argue the uncertainty is a major challenge for states, as they've already crafted their budgets and might need to warn consumers that their children could lose coverage.  

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Funding for CHIP and community health centers is traditionally a bipartisan affair, Pallone noted, adding “that should not be any different this year.”

Democrats are concerned with how Republicans want to pay for the bill, such as cutting an ObamaCare fund and increasing how much wealthy Medicare beneficiaries pay.

A committee spokesperson called the pay-fors in the bill “reasonable,” writing in an email that Republicans are open to ideas from Democrats to reach an agreement “but Congress must move forward quickly [so] children and critical public health programs do not suffer.”

On the Senate side, the Finance Committee passed a bipartisan five-year reauthorization of CHIP on Wednesday, though the panel hasn’t yet released how it would pay for the measure.

In a controversial move Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerElection Countdown: GOP worries House majority endangered by top of ticket | Dems make history in Tuesday's primaries | Parties fight for Puerto Rican vote in Florida | GOP lawmakers plan 'Freedom Tour' Senate Democrats should stop playing politics on Kavanaugh Montana GOP Senate hopeful touts Trump's support in new ad MORE (D-N.Y.) said a bipartisan bill to stabilize the insurance markets that Senate Health Committee Chairman Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderGovernor's race grabs spotlight in Tennessee primaries A single courageous senator can derail the Trump administration GOP worries trade wars will last as Trump engages in temporary tiffs MORE (R-Tenn.) and ranking member Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurraySenate Dems press Sessions for records on racial discrimination complaints Dem senators introduce resolution calling on Trump to stop attacking the press Overnight Health Care: Drug price fight heats up | Skepticism over drug companies' pledges | Ads target HHS secretary over child separations | Senate confirms VA pick MORE (D-Wash.) are working to craft should be attached to the CHIP bill.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchDem lawmaker calls Trump racist in response to 'dog' comment PETA calls out Trump for attacking Omarosa as a 'dog' Hatch 'not comfortable' with Trump calling Omarosa a 'dog' MORE (R-Utah) had harsh words for the idea.

“We should not jeopardize vulnerable children’s health insurance coverage by turning the bill into a Christmas tree and adding controversial policies like bailing out insurance companies,” Hatch said in a statement.