Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on health have agreed to return to negotiations with Democrats on a bill to continue funding for the popular Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
House Energy and Commerce Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) said Monday he would delay floor consideration of the bill passed by the committee last week "in hopes of reaching a bipartisan agreement on offsets."
The bill last week passed with no support from Democrats, who complained that the bill took money from Medicare and the Affordable Care Act to offset the costs of the program.
“I am pleased to know that Democrats are willing to seriously consider reasonable, bipartisan ways to offset the cost of CHIP and important public health priorities like community health centers, the National Health Service Corps and the special diabetes program," Walden said in a statement.
But Walden warned that if both sides can't reach a deal by the end of the week, the House will take up the marked bill immediately following next week's recess.
"With multiple state CHIP and public health programs on countdown clocks, if the minority wants to reach a bipartisan agreement, time is of the essence," he said.
Democrats specifically opposed offsets chosen by Republicans that would cut funds to an ObamaCare public health fund and require older Americans with incomes of more than $500,000 a year to pay higher Medicare premiums.
Funding for the program technically expired Sept. 30, but states have enough funding to continue their programs for the next few months.
The Senate Finance Committee passed a bipartisan five-year reauthorization of the program last week but has not yet said how it would pay for the measure.