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Longterm deal for childrens health again eludes Congress

first_imgWASHINGTON — Congress has again failed to approve long-term funds for a popular program that provides health insurance for nearly 9 million low-income children, leaving each party blaming the other for Christmas-season gridlock and states scrambling to decide how to parcel out dwindling money.Lawmakers scurrying to leave the Capitol for the holidays approved a short-term patch Thursday designed to keep state programs operating through March, though some Republicans said federal officials think the money would run out by early February. The money was part of a bill averting a weekend federal shutdown. Congress had approved a previous stopgap solution for the children’s health program that was about to expire.Democrats and Republicans agree that finances for the Children’s Health Insurance Program should be renewed for five years, but they’ve clashed over how to pay for it. And while few think Congress would blunder into letting the money completely lapse — which no lawmaker would care to defend with elections approaching — an effort to provide long-term money collapsed as leaders punted a bunch of unresolved issues until early next year.“What GOP is obsessed with: Ramming through tax cuts for the rich and powerful,” tweeted Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., referring to the $1.5 trillion tax bill Congress approved this week. “What GOP completely ignores: Extending #CHIP – health care for our children.”“We would love to pass it. They won’t let us,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said in an interview, asserting that Democrats had blocked a multiyear extension.last_img read more