CHIP ex­tended, long-term fate un­cer­tain

The Standard Journal - - LOCAL - From AP, staff re­ports

Con­gress ex­tended fund­ing for the Chil­dren’s Health In­sur­ance Pro­gram through May in leg­is­la­tion passed be­fore the break, but Rep. Tom Graves, R- Ranger, de­clined to pre­dict its ultimate fate.

“CHIP pro­vides es­sen­tial health­care cov­er­age for many chil­dren in North­west Ge­or­gia,“Graves pointed out in a state­ment over the hol­i­days.

How­ever, he of­fered no rec­om­men­da­tions or sug­ges­tions for Ge­or­gia law­mak­ers as they head into their an­nual 40-day ses­sion that typ­i­cally wraps up by April.

“I’m con­fi­dent that Con­gress and the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion can come to an agree­ment on an ex­ten­sion ... Short-term ex­ten­sions have been nec­es­sary as we wait for Democrats to de­cide whether or not they want to join us in pro­vid­ing cer­tainty for fam­i­lies who rely on CHIP,“Graves said.

The stop­gap mea­sure keeps the govern­ment op­er­at­ing through Jan. 19, but long-term fi­nanc­ing for CHIP had to be jet­ti­soned to cor­ral enough votes. Law­mak­ers also de­ferred ac­tion on the com­mu­nity health cen­ters pro­gram as well as a long-term ex­ten­sion of elec­tronic sur­veil­lance pro­grams.

Top White House of­fi­cials and con­gres­sional lead­ers from both par­ties met in House Speaker Paul Ryan’s of­fice Wed­nes­day to try to make progress on a stack of un­fin­ished busi­ness, start­ing with a hoped-for bi­par­ti­san bud­get deal.

Top­ping the agenda was an ef­fort to spare both the Pen­tagon and do­mes­tic Cabi­net agen­cies from spend­ing cuts. Nei­ther White House rep­re­sen­ta­tive, bud­get di­rec­tor Mick Mul­vaney, nor top leg­isla­tive strate­gist Marc Short, com­mented on their way in.

The bud­get de­bate has been roiled by a de­mand from Democrats that non­de­fense pro­grams win in­creases equal to those to be awarded to the Pen­tagon. That was a fea­ture of prior bud­get pacts in 2013 and 2015 that were ne­go­ti­ated dur­ing the ten­ure of for­mer Pres­i­dent Barack Obama.

Now, with Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump in the Oval Of­fice, Repub­li­cans in­sist that this idea of par­ity be­tween guns and but­ter be- longs on the scrap heap.

“We need to set aside the ar­bi­trary no­tion that new de­fense spend­ing be matched equally by new non­de­fense spend­ing,” said Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell, R-Ky. “There is no r ea­son why fund­ing for our na­tional se­cu­rity and our ser­vice mem­bers should be lim­ited by an ar­bi­trary po­lit­i­cal for­mula that bears no re­la­tion­ship to ac­tual need.“

Un­like the re­cently passed tax bill and the GOP’s failed ef­forts to re­peal the Obama- era health care law, the up­com­ing agenda will re­quire votes from Democrats.

Rep. Tom Graves

Mitch McCon­nell

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.