Senate Democrats Vote To Slash Children’s Health Funds After Slamming Trump Administration For Similar Legislation

Evie Fordham | Politics and Health Care Reporter

Senate Democrats voted to slash billions in unused funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Tuesday after slamming the Trump administration for calling for a rescission package that would have clawed back roughly $7 billion from CHIP in May.

The Senate passed a fiscal 2019 funding package that includes $7.7 billion in cuts to CHIP Tuesday, reported Politico’s Sarah Ferris. Democrats had postured against similar cuts in May.

“[Office of Management and Budget Director] Mick Mulvaney said back in May that he wanted to claw back unused CHIP money so that Congress wouldn’t just use it as a budget gimmick to pay for their next spending bill,” Ferris wrote on Twitter Wednesday. “He was right… They did.”

Many of the same Democrats who voted for the cuts Tuesday blasted the May rescission package.

“Let’s be honest about what this is: President Trump and Republicans in Congress are looking to tear apart the bipartisan (CHIP), hurting middle-class families and low-income children, to appease the most conservative special interests,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said on May 7.

Schumer voted for the fiscal 2019 funding package Tuesday.

The latest version of CHIP cuts will send the billions in unused funding to health, education and other programs, reported Politico.

The cuts would not be as dramatic as they sound, wrote Georgetown University public policy professor Edwin Park.

The cuts “only affects funds from past years (‘amounts that were deposited in the Child Enrollment Contingency Fund prior to fiscal year 2019’) that can never be accessed or spent by states even if they otherwise qualify for additional CHIP funding,” Park wrote on the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute website Wednesday.

However, Park pointed out that “the Administration’s [May] rescission package would have eliminated $2 billion from CHIP’s Child Enrollment Contingency Fund.”

“great number of congressional Democrats” had voted for rollbacks to CHIP funding incorporated in the $1.3 trillion spending bill in March.

Senators approved Tuesday’s funding package 93 to 7 and the legislation is now headed to the House of Representatives before the Sept. 30 government shutdown deadline, reported The Associated Press. (RELATED: Trump Administration Backed Off Including These Critical Items In Latest Tariffs)

The package also includes more funding to fight the opioid crisis.

Follow Evie on Twitter @eviefordham.

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