24 Bipartisan Senators Have Supported a Clean Reauthorization of CHIP for Months, Why Has Steve Daines Just Found His Voice?

montanadems2018, News

Helena—On September 18th, a clean bill to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) was introduced to the Senate, earning 24 Democratic and Republican cosponsors, including Montana’s Senior Senator, Jon Tester.

Not among the cosponsors of the legislation: Montana’s Junior Senator, Steve Daines.

But finally this week, after CHIP had been expired for more than 100 days, Daines appeared to find his voice on children’s health care, arguing on the Senate floor: “I am saddened that partisan politics would come in the way of these children’s access to health care.”

This is a strange thing for Daines to say, considering the bill he is now advocating for is not a clean reauthorization of CHIP. Instead, the legislation Daines supports directly ties the health of 24,000 Montana kids to a partisan political battle over government funding—the fourth such battle in as many months instigated by Mitch McConnell despite his Party’s control over the House of Representatives, Senate, and White House.

That Daines is saying one thing but doing the exact opposite raises a number of questions about the sincerity of his efforts to fund children’s health care:

  • Why does Daines support children’s health care being tied to a partisan battle over government funding when a bipartisan, clean bill has been before the Senate for more than four months?
  • If Daines truly believes that reauthorizing CHIP is essential, then why did he spend the last few months focused on passing a tax giveaway to millionaires that would add $1.5 trillion to the national debt instead of protecting the health of 24,000 Montana kids?
  • And most of all, if Daines believes that the health of Montana kids should be beyond partisan politics, then why hasn’t he cosponsored the bipartisan, clean reauthorization bill that has been before the Senate for more than four months?
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