After being vetoed twice by former President Bush, the S-Chip Bill has passed the Senate. Nine Republicans joined the Democrats to pass the bill 66 to 32. Note that 32 of the Senate's 41 Republicans opposed the measure. After years of Bush's idocracy, we are finally poised to expand healthcare for low-income children. I could never understand Bush's obstinance to providing healthcare to low-income children.
The Democratic majority actually acted like a majority and brushed aside Republican objections. This debate showed the outlines of what promises to be a much larger political fight over universal coverage in the Senate. The House passed a nearly identical bill two weeks ago, by a vote of 289 to 139, with 40 Republicans joining nearly all Democrats in support of the measure. The House and Senate versions differ slightly, but the bill should be on Obama's desk by early next week.
To pay for the expansion, which is expected to cost about $32 billion over four and a half years, Congress is raising cigarette taxes to $1 a pack.
The final roll-call is online.