Democrats opt for lesser of two spending increases for children's program

By: The Associated Press
By: The Associated Press

Democratic lawmakers say they are close to agreement on a children's health insurance program that could see spending on it grow by 35 billion dollars.

The boost would bring the program to about 60 billion dollars. That's twice the level the Bush administration has been seeking.

Many House Democrats have wanted more. But party leaders hope that a smaller increase will improve the prospects for overriding a possible presidential veto.

The State Children's Health Insurance Program provides government-subsidized health coverage to about 6 million children and about 600,000 adults. It expires at the end of the month.

Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt says Congress should pass legislation that will allow the program to continue temporarily. He says that could provide time to work through differences between the administration and Congress "in a thoughtful way."

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