To avoid a looming government shutdown, the GOP is using the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) as a bargaining tool. The one-month package House GOP leaders are proposing includes “six more years of funding for CHIP while delaying the implementation of several Obamacare taxes,” according to Politico. However, there is no long-term funding in the bill for community health centers. The National Association of Community Health Centers said, “Congress’ inability to respond to the health care center funding cliff has unnecessarily destabilized the health center network, and has jeopardized care for the 27 million Americans who rely on them for high quality, affordable care.”
Therefore, to avoid the blame for no funding for CHIP, Republicans are using the lack of funding to preemptively blame Democrats. Two GOP senators have said they will vote no on the spending bill and the “number of Democrats saying they’ll vote no has been rising by the hour,” according to The Hill. For now, the GOP stands firmly on the side of securing the border, whereas the Democrats want more funding for DACA. With 12 senators still undecided, the possibility of a shutdown is still looming.
If the spending bill, which would keep the government open until February 16th, does not pass through the senate, the government will shut down and midnight on Friday. Some GOP senators, including Lindsey Graham and Rand Paul, do not want to pass another stopgap bill, like the one passed in December, because they do not want to waste more taxpayer money. Sen. Mike Rounds (S.D.) said, “he would oppose the House bill in its ‘current form’ adding: ‘It’s a matter of defense and it’s a matter of trying to make sure in the future the message is ‘let’s get our work down on time.’” It is unclear how Sen. Jeff Flake and Sen. Mike Lee will vote.