Michele Bachmann tells Children's Health Care Advocates to "Bring it On," Minnesota's Working Families Outraged Over Vote Against SCHIP, Call on Bachmann to Reverse Course and Vote to Override Veto
Constituents Ramp up Pressure and Question Congresswoman's Priorities and Values, Blast Bachmann for Putting Billions for Iraq Ahead of Children's Health
St. Cloud, MN — Nearly 10 million kids and thousands in Minnesota were just one step away from receiving the basic health coverage they need following last week's passage in both the U.S. House and Senate of the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act — critical legislation that would reauthorize the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) for 6.6 million kids and provide coverage to nearly 4 million more low income children. Unfortunately, President Bush, after spending half a trillion dollars on the Iraq war, vetoed the reauthorization of this critical program for the nation's children, putting at risk healthcare for 10 million children including thousands right here in Minnesota.
Without apology or question, Rep. Bachmann put loyalty to President Bush ahead of Minnesota's families by voting against the Children's Health Insurance Program. Minnesotans held an Oct. 3 candlelight vigil at Rep. Bachmann's Waite Park office imploring her to stand with Minnesotans against the President's backwards priorities that sacrifice the health of children for a failed policy in Iraq. Bachmann called in to Jason Lewis's KTLK radio show to answer their concerns that very day, responding "If they want to take this fight on, I say 'Bring it On!'" Bachmann again showed how out of touch she is, falsely claiming that "We're talking about rich people in Minnesota." In reality, the bill provides for working class Minnesota families who simply can't afford insurance for their kids.
"After spending half a trillion dollars in Iraq, President Bush chose to deny healthcare funding for millions of children in need, thousands right here at home, with one stroke of his veto pen," said Amy Bodnar, of SEIU MN State Council. "The fact is, for what we spend in just one week in Iraq, 800,000 children could get health insurance for an entire year. This is a question of priorities, and President Bush and Rep. Bachmann have theirs all mixed up: billions for Iraq and a veto for children's healthcare. Rep. Bachmann needs to stand up for Minnesota's families by voting to override the President's shameful veto of this critical legislation to provide health care for thousands of kids in Minnesota and expanding that care to thousands more in desperate need." State representative Larry Hosch, (DFL-St. Joseph) blasted Bachmann for her unflinching loyalty to the President on this important piece of legislation: "Half the Republican delegation in Minnesota voted for this bill, so this is not a partisan issue. It's an issue of where our priorities are. Health care for children cannot be a partisan issue."
"And the argument that this is a fiscally irresponsible bill is hogwash," continued Rep. Hosch. "This is the first time that Congress in many years has provided a bill with an actual funding mechanism involved — it's not putting us into further deficit, it's paying for our commitments both today and tomorrow, and it's paying for one of our most important commitments, and that's insuring our children. We know that access to healthcare for our children is an investment. We save money in the long run."
Rev. Donald Schultz harshly criticized Bachmann's stance against SCHIP at the vigil, as well: "I'm here because my faith tells me that God stands decisively with the hurting and the vulnerable, the weakest among our midst. Michele Bachmann claims she cares about Minnesota families and family values. But her vote against the SCHIP bill sends a pretty sorry message to Minnesota families — a message that it's more important to protect President Bush's irresponsible policies than it is to protect our children. Why would Michele Bachmann vote against this bill? Do you suppose she's afraid that some undeserving infant or toddler will sneak through into the public trough? Or do you suppose it could be more ammunition for their war on the middle class — the one war of this Republican administration that is going very, very well."