WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer released the following statement this afternoon regarding President Bush’s comments on children’s health insurance today. According to press reports, the President asserted – wrongly – that Democrats and Republicans in Congress – including Senators Orrin Hatch, Charles Grassley and Pat Roberts – are trying to nationalize health care by extending health insurance to 10 million low-income American children:
“While it may be fitting for President Bush to trot out bogeymen on Halloween, his comments today are a clear sign that he is isolated and desperate in his attempt to block bipartisan legislation extending health insurance to 10 million low-income American children.
“The President prides himself on straight talk, yet he broke his explicit promise to the American people when he vetoed our bipartisan children’s health insurance bill. In 2004, President Bush unequivocally stated: ‘In a new term, we will lead an aggressive effort to enroll millions of children who are eligible but not signed up for government health insurance programs. We will not allow a lack of attention, or information, to stand between these children and the health care they need.’
“The President demonstrated again today that he is still the biggest obstacle to ensuring that 10 million low-income kids receive the health coverage they need and deserve.
“Democrats and Republicans in Congress will continue to reach out to House Republicans in our effort to win even more support for this bipartisan legislation, and to give us the votes needed to override a Presidential veto. The choice is straightforward and clear: They can stand with 10 million children and the bipartisan majorities in Congress, doctors, nurses, health insurers and the American people, who support this legislation. Or, they can stand with a President, who employs scare tactics and misleading claims in an effort to undermine this bipartisan effort.”