No progress on negotiations to fund Children's Health Insurance Program

No progress on negotiations to fund Children's Health Insurance Program
© Greg Nash

Negotiations on a bipartisan bill to fund the popular Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) have made little progress, a top House Republican said Monday. 

Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) said Democrats have not made a counteroffer on paying for an extension of the program. 

"Despite Ranking Member [Frank Pallone Jr.’s (D-N.J.)] statement calling for renewed bipartisan negotiations nearly two weeks ago, we have yet to receive a single counteroffer from our Democratic colleagues," Walden said in a statement.


"If Democrats are serious about funding these important programs, I call on them to follow through on their offer for renewed negotiations. There is too much at stake for partisan games and gridlock." 

The Energy and Commerce Committee passed a bill extending funding for the program earlier this month with no Democratic support.

Democrats, however, took issue with offsets that would cut an ObamaCare public health fund and increase Medicare premiums for those with incomes of more than $500,000 a year. 

Walden agreed last week to reopen negotiations with Democrats on ways to pay for the program but said Monday there hasn't been any progress.

He said if the two sides can't come to an agreement, the full House will vote on the bill passed by the committee once it returns from recess next week. 

Pallone, meanwhile, released a statement last Friday suggesting that Republicans have refused to budge on the offsets.

"It’s clear that House Republicans want to use reauthorization of children’s health insurance and Community Health Centers as a way to further undermine the Affordable Care Act and weaken Medicare," Pallone said. 

"Republicans remain fixated on sabotaging the ACA anyway they can. I reject the premise that we can only offer health care to children by taking it away from others, and, to date, Republicans refuse to budge in that regard." 

Funding for the program technically expired Sept. 30, but states have enough funding to last at least for the next few months.

Without any action from Congress, Arizona could be the first state to run out of funding by the end of November.