Buchanan Opposes Cuts to Children’s Health
Votes Against White House Plan to Rescind $7 Billion
“There are Plenty of Other Places We Should Cut First”
WASHINGTON – Congressman Vern Buchanan last night voted against a White House proposal to rescind $7 billion in federal aid for the national Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), saying the cuts would jeopardize services for low-income kids. Buchanan was one of 19 Republicans to oppose the plan, which passed the House and now goes to the Senate.
“There are plenty of other places we should cut before we touch health care for children,” Buchanan said, noting that 6,000 kids in Sarasota and Manatee counties depend on the program. “This important program provides peace of mind to families that if their children get sick they will get the medical attention they need.”
Buchanan has a long history in support of CHIP. He was one of 44 Republicans who voted in 2007 to override then-President George Bush’s veto of a bill extending the health care program.
“This is a tremendously successful program that serves 9 million kids nationwide and 375,000 in Florida,” Buchanan said. “The White House proposal undermines a bipartisan CHIP agreement reached earlier this year and removes reassurances states need that funding will be available to keep kids covered.”
The Congressman cited a letter signed by more than 500 organizations opposing the cut, including the Child Welfare League, the Children’s Defense Fund, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Children’s Hospital Association, March of Dimes, Easter Seals and the American College of Physicians. The letter said that, “while White House officials insist that the CHIP cuts would not harm access to care for children and families, that is simply not the case.”
Of the $7 billion in cuts to CHIP, $2 billion would come from the Child Enrollment Contingency Fund that provides payments to states if they experience an unexpected surge in enrollment due to hurricanes, natural disasters or other unexpected situations. The White House said the remaining $5 billion would come from unspent funds in the Children’s Health Insurance Fund. But those monies, if left unspent, would be applied to other children’s health programs in the Health and Human Services Department.
Buchanan suggested several other areas that Congress should target to reduce federal spending, including:
· Cutting the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program at a savings of $1.1 trillion. The most expensive weapons system in U.S. history is years behind schedule and plagued with cost overruns and technical problems.
· Limiting dues to the United Nations by paying no more than the other four permanent members of UN Security Council at a savings of at least $500 million a year. Currently, the other four permanent members of the U.N. Security Council – Russia, China, Britain and France – together account for $2.523 billion compared to $3.024 billion from the U.S. alone.
· Cutting the federal workforce by 10 percent through attrition, saving $127 billion over 10 years. A bipartisan presidential fiscal commission proposed to cut the federal workforce by hiring two workers for every three that leave government. That proposal was projected to save $127 billion over 10 years and would reduce the workforce by 10 percent by 2020.