Key Point: The Senate already "supported" CHIP legislation 29-2, on the amendment to Rep. Pierson's bill. It only takes 4/5 of the Senate to pull Rep. Coleman's bill out of Senator Ogden's committee and bring it to the House floor. 29/31 > 4/5. It's entirely up to Senate Republicans -- are they willing to put children's health care first, or are they going to stand by Rick Perry and kill expansion of CHIP?
Yesterday, Texas Governor Rick Perry spoke out against CHIP expansion legislation -- possibly even threatening a veto -- at the same time that Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst and Senate Republicans attempted to dishonestly derail any hopes of CHIP expansion legislation passing this session.
The AP story that ran in the Houston Chroncile ("Perry opposes CHIP expansion plan") has the quote (emphasis added):
"No. I would probably not be in favor of that expansion even if it came to my desk. I think the members know that," Perry said. "That is not what I consider to be a piece of legislation that has the vast support of the people of the state of Texas."
The "vast support of the people of Texas" don't support the plan? CHIP has been one of the winningest issues for Texas Democrats over the past six years. Moreover, a poll last November by a Republican research firm, Hill Research Consultants, had the following information:
- Helping "children access quality healthcare" is the top priority of 18% of registered voters in TX, 2nd highest of any issue.
- In a re-elect question on Republican elected officials, 54% of registered voters said they would "give Democrats a chance."
- Children's healthcare is the top priority of 85% of those regustered voters who would "give Democrats a chance."
Moreover, the House and Senate have already passed versions of the legislation. The Senate passed legislation by Senator Averitt, while the House passed legislation by State Rep. Garnet Coleman. The Senate, in an attempt to be cute, attached Sen. Averitt's version of the legislation to a House bill that had was not about CHIP -- therefore, it would have been struck down on a point of order.
The House, not surprisingly, said, "um, no, we can't do that" -- and Rick Casey, in his column in today's Houston Chronicle titled, "CHIP charade also failed test of character" calls out the Senate Republicans for their nonsense: