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Congress funds Children’s Health Insurance Program through March

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Thursday, both Houses of Congress have passed a temporary government funding continuing resolution to keep the government funded and avoid a government shutdown. Included in that is funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program through March. Without the infusion of federal dollars, the state of Alabama was prepared to mail out letters on Tuesday to 84,000 families who get health insurance through the All Kids government subsidized insurance program announcing that their children’s health insurance coverage would be cancelled on the first of February.

“Latest Chip update! The United States House of Representatives just passed a temporary funding bill to fund the Chip program till March 2018. The vote was 231-188. This bill now moves to the Senate which must pass it as is because the House has adjourned for the year. 16 republicans bailed on the bill but 14 democrats voted yes. The ball is once again in the Senate’s court. Please share! Mack,” state Rep. Mack Butler, R-Rainbow City, announced on social media.

“Over the last several days, I’ve received a lot of inquiries about the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), so I wanted to provide an important update. As I’ve said many times before, I’m a strong supporter of funding for CHIP, and I’m proud to announce that tonight the House voted to reauthorize funding for this important program. I hope the Senate does the same,” Congresswoman Martha Roby, R-Montgomery, said in a statement.

Butler followed that announcement, “Chip funding update! The bill has now passed the Senate and is headed to the President for his signature. This bill funds the program until March which buys the congress time to get it funded for the next two years. Thanks to Congressman Aderholt for all his work on this bill and for keeping us updated each day. Please share! Mack.”

Congressman Robert Aderholt, R-Haleyville, was among the GOP leaders working to get CHIP funded.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, said in a statement after the House voted on legislation to fund the government.

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“Today, the House responsibly voted to continue the government operations and fulfill basic obligations—including funding the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and providing resources for hurricane and wildfire ravaged states,” Speaker Ryan said. “It’s disappointing that House Democrats overwhelmingly voted against these measures. I hope that they will return in the new year willing to work with us to complete our work, most importantly to adequately provide for our men and women in uniform.”

“This is not the way we need to do the people’s business. These short-term government funding bills are generally bad policy, but they are especially harmful for our national defense. As our military men and women spend the holidays away from their families, I am ashamed Congress could not provide them with the funding certainty they need and deserve. We can and we must do better than this,” Congressman Bradley Byrne, R-Montrose, said in a statement.

“Ultimately, I supported this bill because it prevents a government shutdown and includes much needed funding to keep the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) operating,” Rep. Byrne said. “That said, when Congress returns in January, we must pass a full funding bill for our nation’s military and stop allowing Democrats to hold critical national security funding hostage.”

President Donald Trump also urged Members of Congress to support the Continuing Resolution. The President tweeted: “House Democrats want a SHUTDOWN for the holidays in order to distract from the very popular, just passed, Tax Cuts. House Republicans, don’t let this happen. Pass the C.R. TODAY and keep our Government OPEN!”

The bill passed by a vote of 231-188.

President Trump is expected to sign the bill.

Congress has now left on its Christmas break after passing this and a massive tax reform bill, H.R. 1: the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

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Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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