Yesterday evening, the House passed a bill in favor of a $35 billion reauthorization for Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA). The act will be fully funded by a .61-cents-per-pack federal excise tax increase on cigarettes.
The house voted 265-159 on the bill, passing it but still falling 20 votes short of making it veto-proof. Though the bill still needs to go through the Senate, President Bush has declared his stance on the bill and said he would veto it in favor of his own plan that would fund the program by investing only $5 billion into it over the next five years.
According to a newsletter distributed by Bonnie Herzog, tobacco analyst for the Citi Group, the Senate could be voting as early as this week.
“We believe the bill will be passed through both the House and Senate most likely right before the Sept. 30 expiration date of the current program,” said Herzog.
While the Senate has a chance of making the bill veto-proof, experts believe that the final decision will still be made at the President’s desk. Despite his desire to veto the bill, it’s possible the president could waver on the matter.