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Pelosi: Tonight's Strong Bipartisan Vote for Children's Health Insurance a Victory for America's Children

Washington, D.C. -- Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke on the House floor tonight to support the Children Health Insurance Program bill, which passed by a bipartisan vote of 265 to 159.  Below are her remarks as prepared:

'Tonight is a bipartisan victory for America's children and families.

'10 million.  That is how many reasons there are to support this bipartisan CHIP legislation.  10 million American children will receive CHIP health coverage under this bill thanks to the efforts of our outstanding chairmen, John Dingell, Charlie Rangel and Frank Pallone.

'I also want to thank Congressman Ray LaHood for his courageous support for this legislation.  The CHIP bill is another addition to Congressman LaHood's record of bipartisan compromise.

'Our House colleagues worked in true bipartisan fashion with members of the Senate: Finance Chairman Max Baucus, and Senators Charles Grassley, Jay Rockefeller and Orrin Hatch.  They proved that even when some attempt to interject partisan politics into practical issues, serious legislators can still forge bipartisan compromise.

'Earlier today, I met with a mother and daughter who understand the critical role CHIP health coverage.

'Three years ago, a young girl named Gemma Frost, her older brother Graeme, and their mother, Bonnie, were involved in a horrible automobile accident that left the two children with traumatic brain injuries.

'Gemma and Graeme's injuries were more than any child should have to bear.  Thankfully, these children received the very best of American health care and continue their recovery.  The health care they received was made possible by CHIP, the State Children's Health Insurance Program.

'With the help of CHIP coverage, the Frost family had the security of knowing, even in a time of family tragedy, that Gemma and Graeme had access to the care they required.

'The legislation before the House will secure coverage for Gemma and Graeme Frost, and for 10 million other children.

'And this bipartisan bill is fully paid for - no new deficit spending.

'That is why this legislation has such bipartisan support in the Congress and among our nation's governors.  The CHIP bill is supported by a coalition of 270 groups ranging from the AARP to the YMCA, representing millions of Americans.

'I am disappointed that the President has issued a veto threat against a bill that has so much bipartisan - indeed non-partisan - support.

'The President is wrong when he says Democrats want a political victory.  What we want is a bipartisan bill that provides health care to 10 million of America's children.  It is a goal supported by all Americans, regardless of party.  I hope the President will reconsider his veto threat and sign this legislation for Gemma and Graeme Frost, and millions of children across the country.

'I urge a strong, bipartisan vote in support of health care for America's children and in favor of the bill.'