SCHIP Bill Is A Giant Step For America's Children

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State Children's Health Insurance Program

Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks this morning at the Children's Health Insurance rally attended by labor union leaders, members of Congress, and hundreds of children and seniors. Attendees called on President Bush not to veto full funding of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Below are the Speaker's remarks:

"When people ask me what the three most important issues facing the Congress, I always say the same thing: our children, our children, our children. Their health; their education; the economic security of their families; the retirement and security of their grandparents; healthy, safe neighborhood and environment in which they can thrive; and a world at peace in which they can participate.

"Thank you, President Sweeney for all that you have done for America's children, America's children, America's children.

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"When the SCHIP bill passed the House of Representatives, we were on the floor and it was the end of the day, and I quoted the poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 'The Children's Hour.' And I said that when we passed that bill, it would be the children's hour for the Congress of United States. Many who spoke that evening said that it was the proudest time, their proudest moment in Congress, when we were taking such a giant step for America's children.

"Under our legislation, 6 million children currently enrolled in SCHIP would receive better benefits, including dental care and mental health services. And through improvements to the program, an additional 5 million children would be enrolled.

"As many of you know, when I took the gavel as first woman Speaker of the House, I took it surrounded by children. This is a comfortable environment for me. It reminds us constantly of our responsibility to the future. But when I took that gavel, I said, 'I take this gavel on behalf of all of America's children.' Ruby spoke so beautifully about the fact that she has health care, but she wants it for all of America's children.

"So thank you, Alliance for Retired Americans, thank you, George Kourpias, thank you, President Sweeney, thank all of you for what you are doing for all of America's children.

"And let's hear it for these children!"

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