Democrats in Congress sought to overturn Bush's veto of the S-CHIP expansion today, failing by 13 votes. Party discipline was impressive on the Democratic side, where only two Democrats, both from tobacco districts (S-CHIP would've imposed a new tobacco tax), voted against.
The question, of course, is what happens next. The Washington Post strongly implies that the Republicans just need some cosmetic changes -- a cap of benefits at 300% of the poverty line, and stronger language against illegal immigrants using the program -- to save face and sign on. And cosmetic changes are all they'll get. Pelosi has pledged to reject anything that doesn't expand coverage to 10 million children, which means she'll bring a bill almost exactly like this one to the floor again and again. Bush can keep vetoing, and the Republicans can hold their line, and S-CHIP could expire, tossing millions of kids off the insurance rolls. Pelosi is betting that won't happen, and that congressional Republicans, already worried about their prospects in 2008, will fold rather quickly. Well see.