- President Donald Trump tweeted that funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) should be extended long-term and “not a 30 Day, or short term, extension!”
- Republicans attached a six-year extension of CHIP to their current government funding bill to win over Democrats.
- Trump’s tweet appears to contradict GOP leadership’s strategy.
President Donald Trump tweeted support for a long-term bill to fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, seemingly contradicting the strategy of Republican leadership to keep the larger government funded.
“CHIP should be part of a long term solution, not a 30 Day, or short term, extension!” Trump tweeted Thursday.
The tweet comes as the Republican leadership advances a bill that funds the government for 28 days while also funding the CHIP program for six years.
The GOP leadership’s goal by combining the two is to try and force Democrats to vote for the funding package, particularly in the Senate, despite it not including many other legislative priorities.
After the president’s seemingly contradictory tweet, GOP leaders scrambled to clarify the vehicle by which CHIP is being funded.
“The current house Continuing Resolution package has a six-year extension of CHIP, not a 30 day extension,” tweeted John Cornyn, the second-highest ranking Senate Republican.
The reason the CHIP extension inclusion in a short-term funding bill is necessary is complicated and actually has a lot to do with immigration.
The Democrats’ biggest ask in the current shutdown battle is a solution for the the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which protects unauthorized immigrants who were brought to the US as children from deportation.
Since Trump gave a six-month deadline to end the DACA program in September, Democrats have insisted that a codification of the DACA program be added to a government funding bill to ensure its passage. So far, the two parties have not come to a deal on the issue and Democrats threatened to vote against the new short-term funding extension due to the lack of a DACA solution.
In an attempt to gain the needed 10 Democratic votes in the Senate without the DACA piece, Republicans have added the CHIP funding to the bill as leverage.
Democrats pushed Republicans for the past four months to pass a long-term funding bill for CHIP, which saw new funding end in September. Since then, a number of states started to run out of funds and concern grew over the capabilities of states to provide care for the roughly 9 million children in the program.
While both sides wanted to extend the program, Republicans insisted on a series of healthcare funding cuts in any extension to offset the money put toward CHIP. However, a recent Congressional Budget Office report showed that the program would, on net, not cost the government anything, leading to the cleaner six-year extension being added.
Democrats pushed for the CHIP bill to be taken up separately and are pushing back against its inclusion in the short-term government funding bill, similar to Trump’s tweet.
A White House spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
If no funding bill is passed by the end of Friday, the government will enter a partial shutdown.