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 SchumerAmerica isn't ready to let Sessions off his leash Schumer celebrates New York Giants firing head coach: ‘About time’ GOP should reject the left's pessimism and the deficit trigger MORE (D-N.Y.) said a bipartisan bill to stabilize the insurance markets that Senate Health Committee Chairman Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderOvernight Finance: Trump says shutdown 'could happen' | Ryan, conservatives inch closer to spending deal | Senate approves motion to go to tax conference | Ryan promises 'entitlement reform' in 2018 Senate approves motion to go to tax conference House conservatives, Ryan inch closer toward spending deal MORE (R-Tenn.) and ranking member Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayDemocrats turn on Al Franken VA slashes program that helps homeless veterans obtain housing: report The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (D-Wash.) are working to craft should be attached to the CHIP bill.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchMcConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Ryan pledges 'entitlement reform' in 2018 Utah governor calls Bannon a 'bigot' after attacks on Romney 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.