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President Bush Vetoes Children’s Health Insurance Legislation

President Bush vetoed a bill Wednesday that aimed to expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program, or SCHIP, by $35 billion. Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., and Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., examine the president's decision and the next steps for the bill.

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  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Today's action marked just the fourth time the president has vetoed a bill. It sparked an immediate uproar on Capitol Hill from members of both parties and a pledge from House Democrats to try overriding the veto in two weeks.

    Well, that's where we go tonight for an assessment of what happens next, from two leaders who will be counting votes. Rahm Emanuel of Illinois is chair of the House Democratic Caucus, and Eric Cantor of Virginia is chief deputy whip for the House Republicans.

    Gentlemen, thank you both. It's good to see you.

    Let me start with you, Congressman Emanuel. Do you think by waiting these two additional weeks that you're going to be able to get the votes you need for this override?

    REP. RAHM EMANUEL (D), Illinois: First of all, I think we're going to do better than the 265. I already know about three or four votes that are going to switch on both sides of the aisle. And so I think the intensity and the pressure — because people know that it's wrong to ask for $190 billion increase for the war in Iraq and yet deny 10 million children health care and call it excessive spending.

    And I think, as people have focused on this, they realize that the parents who are working full-time and the kids, because of no fault of their own, don't have health care, it's the right thing to do. And I think these two weeks will bring an intensity to this subject that to date really just kind of emerged on the scene. And you can see a number of members on both sides of the aisle who cast a no vote and have already indicated that the right thing to do is a yes vote.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    So are you saying you do think you're going to have enough votes for an override?

  • REP. RAHM EMANUEL:

    No, what I'm saying is I think we're bringing — within, let's say, 24 hours, Judy, I know about four votes already that are going to switch. And I think, in the next two weeks, we're going to go hard at work at this, because I think folks know that what they did here is not right to deny 10 million American children health care…

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Let me…

  • REP. RAHM EMANUEL:

    … and then just continue on an open-wallet approach to the war in Iraq.

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