ALEXANDRIA, VA – First Focus President Bruce Lesley released the following statement regarding the passage of bipartisan legislation to renew the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. The bill that was approved today was modified from its original version, passed earlier this month, to address concerns of opponents:

“Right now, Democratic and Republican governors across this nation are making plans to cap, limit, or even reduce coverage for children enrolled in the Children’s Health Insurance Program. It is shameful that the inability of the government to address this issue is resulting in real losses for American children. Gridlock in Washington is leaving state SCHIP programs at last year’s funding levels, billions of dollars short of what states need.

We remain concerned about modifications to this legislation that restrict the ability of states to effectively meet the specific needs of their children. Nevertheless, children are poised to lose coverage and as long the bill’s framework covers an additional four million kids, this compromise is a positive development.

In his run for re-election, the President promised to cover millions of children without health insurance. Now, by threatening to veto SCHIP for the second time, he is instead promising to remove thousands of children from the program.

Unfortunately, the House of Representatives was unable to muster the votes needed to constitute a veto-proof majority. Now, Congress must take immediate steps to provide critical resources to states facing financial shortfalls as children are already starting to lose coverage.”