Both the Senate and the House have passed an expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) with strong bipartisan majorities. In today’s White House press briefing, a reporter said that Democratic leaders would likely be sending the legislation to the President to sign (or, in this case, veto) this afternoon.
White House spokeswoman Dana Perino confirmed that President Bush plans to veto the legislation “tomorrow or so.” When asked whether there will be a ceremony, Perino replied, “I would not anticipate that there would be any ceremony.” She added, “The President will probably veto it quietly.” Watch it:
It’s not surprising that Bush is hoping no one notices his veto, which will deny health coverage to four million children. Over 70 percent of Americans support Congress’s proposed SCHIP increase. Bush has stated that he opposes funding the program with revenue from cigarette taxes, even though such taxes are tied to decreases in smoking. Furthermore, the public overwhelmingly supports raising tobacco taxes, by a margin of 67 percent to 28 percent.
Bush knows his veto is unpopular. After all, he’s certainly not opposed to lavish ceremonies and using children for political photo-ops:
Perhaps Bush couldn’t find any families who would be willing to stand with him on this veto?
QUESTION: Dana, can I follow on SCHIP? Our people are telling us that the Democrats are going to send up SCHIP today at about 2:30. Is the president going to veto that today?
PERINO: No. I think that we’ll probably get to that tomorrow or so.
QUESTION: But definitely not today?
PERINO: Not today.
QUESTION: And what is your plan for that veto? Have you decided whether there’s a ceremony?
PERINO: I would not anticipate that there would be any ceremony.
PERINO: The President will probably veto it quietly. And then, as you know, he has a public event tomorrow. As I mentioned, he’s going to go to Lancaster and have an event where he talks about spending and the budget.
QUESTION: Can we have a picture.
PERINO: Why do you need a picture for radio?
QUESTION: Accountability, OK? Accountability. We want to make sure it’s vetoed. OK?