Green Condemns Bush's Budget for its Failure to Help States, Low-Income Children
February 6, 2003
Washington, DC - Congressman Gene Green came out today to express his disappointment in President Bushs health care budget, specifically his failure to allow states to tap unspent State Childrens Health Insurance Program (CHIP) funds from 1998 and 1999. Bushs budget proposes to allow states to keep only those funds from FY 2000 -- a fraction of the assistance necessary.
For the last few months, President Bush has said he supports returning funds to the states for their CHIP programs, Green said. But his budget fails to give states the assistance they need.
Green introduced H.R. 515, the CHIP Allotment Extension Availability Act of 2003, on January 31, 2003, which would allow states to spend their 1998 through 2002 CHIP allotments through 2006. This bill would return $285 million to Texas to ensure that low-income children continue to be served. Under current law, a total of $2.7 billion of the unspent federal CHIP funds are scheduled to expire and revert to the Treasury at the end of either fiscal year 2002 or fiscal year 2003. States that have unspent CHIP funds such as Texas -- must return those funds to the U.S. Treasury.
Texas is in the midst of a budget crisis, with shortfalls estimated to be in the $10 billion range, Green stated. The federal government should be doing more to help states get out of this hole not make them dig deeper.
As a member of the Energy and Commerce Committees Health Subcommittee, Green sits on the subcommittee that has jurisdiction over the CHIP program. He has made this issue his top priority for the 108th Congress.
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