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Bush vetoes SCHIP once again

WASHINGTON – President Bush vetoed legislation Wednesday that would have expanded government-provided health insurance for children, his second slap-down of a bipartisan effort in Congress to dramatically increase funding for the popular program.

It was Bush’s seventh veto in seven years – all but one coming since Democrats took control of Congress in January. Wednesday was the deadline for Bush to act or let the bill become law. The president also vetoed an earlier, similar bill expanding the health insurance program.

In a statement notifying Congress of his decision, Bush said the bill was unacceptable because – like the first one – it allows adults into the program, would cover people in families with incomes above the U.S. median and raises taxes.

Bush urged Congress to extend the program at its current funding level.

In fact, congressional leaders had already said earlier Wednesday that they now will try only to extend the State Children’s Health Insurance Program well into 2008 in basically its current form. Their comments signaled that they have given up substantially expanding the program.

The House voted 211-180 late Wednesday to put off until Jan. 23 a vote on overriding the president’s veto.