More than Half of GOP Sens Up in 2008 Vote Against SCHIP
by Jonathan Singer, Fri Aug 03, 2007 at 06:10:37 AM EDT
Last night the Senate took up legislation that would expand the SCHIP program, marginally raising the federal tobacco tax so that millions more American children would be able to receive healthcare coverage. The bill is basically a no-brainer -- it's good policy and it's widely and wildly popular. Yet that didn't stop more than half of the Republican Senators up for reelection in 2008 voting against the bill. Take a look through the roll call:
SCHIP "No" Votes Up in 2008
Barrasso (R-WY) Chambliss (R-GA) Cochran (R-MS) Cornyn (R-TX) Craig (R-ID) Dole (R-NC) Enzi (R-WY) Graham (R-SC) Hagel (R-NE) Inhofe (R-OK) Isakson (R-GA) McConnell (R-KY) Sessions (R-AL)
Looking through this list, there are a number of potential problems for the Republicans. Remember, more than 80 percent of Americans (including more than 70 percent of Republicans) support expanding SCHIP to cover every child in this country, and a large majority of Americans (including a sizable majority of Republicans) support such an expansion even if it meant that their own taxes would be raised. So the fact that a number of potentially vulnerable Republican Senators like Liddy Dole, Mitch McConnell, Jim Inhofe and John Cornyn -- and even potentially John Barrasso, who might face some real trouble in Wyoming should Gary Trauner (who's here in Chicago at Yearly Kos) opts to run for the Senate rather than the House -- are voting against this measure could be a problem for their hopes of securing reelection.
And of course this issue isn't just a problem for Republicans in the Senate. A day earlier the House also took up similar legislation expanding the SCHIP program and just five blue state Republicans voted aye -- a figure that clearly does not gibe with the public's sentiment on this issue.
I won't argue that this is the most salient issue for the voting public at this juncture. I wouldn't have the data to prove such a claim either way, though I'm fairly certain that it's not the case. That said, I do have the sense that children's healthcare is an issue that a great deal of voters care about and a number will at least in part base their vote on. And in this case, the fact that so many Republicans have entrenched themsleves on the wrong side of this issue could help upend their hopes of regaining control over one or both champbers of Congress this fall.