South Dakota Republican Senator Mike Rounds Leaves No Doubt About Holding CHIP Hostage
Republicans have successfully passed a massive tax bill that mostly benefits the wealthy and corporations and are now doing their victory laps on the monstrosity. But another program covering heath care for children has sat unfunded for months and states are now running out of the money needed to keep the coverage going.
So, why hasn’t the Republican-led Congress re-upped the funding for the successful program? One Republican Senator just admitted it’s because they are holding the funding hostage to pass something unpopular. Senator Mike Rounds of South Dakota left no uncertainty in comments to Bloomberg reporter Alex Ruoff.
Ruoff posted a tweet with Rounds’ statement that read:
Mike Rounds said no disagreement on CHIP, but Senate wants to use it to pass “something else that isn’t as popular as CHIP.”
“If they can add something…then leadership will take a look at that and see if they can accomplish more than just CHIP in one bill”
Mike Rounds said no disagreement on CHIP, but Senate wants to use it to pass "something else that isn't as popular as CHIP."
"If they can add something…then leadership will take a look at that and see if they can accomplish more than just CHIP in one bill"
— Alex Ruoff (@Alexruoff) December 20, 2017
In other words, passing a hugely unpopular tax bill for the wealthy and corporations isn’t the only disgraceful thing they want to smash through the process. They want something else and they’ll hold health care for 9 million children hostage so they can get their way.
States have already sounded the alarm about the funding. Most recently, Connecticut announced it would have to close its program on January 31 if it does not receive the funding needed from Congress. Colorado informed families it would end the program on the same date in an earlier letter to families.
Senator Mike Rounds has been touting the tax bill as something that would help tame the federal debt. Yesterday, he stated:
“Part of the message, that we probably don’t do a real good job of sending, is we’re a half-trillion dollars in further in debt every single year, and it’s going to get worse,” Mr. Rounds, South Dakota Republican, said on Fox Business.
He said part of the goal for tax reform is to increase that growth to stop adding to the debt.
“We can’t do it when we’re growing at a paltry 1.8 percent like we have for the past 10 years. Our plan is to grow the economy at a faster rate,” Mr. Rounds said.
This belief goes against what most experts have estimated. The tax bill is expected to add at least over $1 trillion to the debt. A recent analysis by the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimated the true cost of the measure to reach $2.5 trillion over ten years.
In short, Republicans had no problem finding money to rush a terribly unpopular tax bill through Congress and to the president’s desk. But simply funding a popular program covering children’s health care can’t be done without even more unpopular strings attached.
Featured image via Mark Wilson/Getty Images.
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