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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

NW Republicans split in vote to expand child health insurance


WASHINGTON -- Northwest Republicans were split as the House voted to expand health insurance for children despite a veto threat from President Bush.

Three of the six House Republicans in Oregon, Washington and Idaho voted against the Democratic-led plan Tuesday night, while three voted in favor.

The House voted 265-159 to expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program, or SCHIP, by $35 billion over five years.

Republican Reps. Doc Hastings of Washington, Greg Walden of Oregon and Bill Sali of Idaho voted against the plan, while GOP Reps. Mike Simpson of Idaho and Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Dave Reichert of Washington state voted for it.

All 10 House Democrats in the region supported the plan, which Democrats call crucial to helping children from low- and middle-income families obtain health insurance.

Democrats have said they will depict Republicans who oppose the bill as anti-children, a charge the president and other Republicans reject.

Bush says he will veto the bill due to its cost, its reliance on a tobacco tax increase and its potential for replacing private insurance with government grants.

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