Republicans and Democrats are engaging in warfare over a traditionally bipartisan program to insure children.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee is marking up legislation to extend the Children's Health Insurance Program by five years. However, Democrats have objected to the legislation because of measures to pay for the program.
"Here we are with a partisan bill that asks us to pay for coverage of children on the backs of seniors and the most vulnerable among us," said Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo.
The bill seeks to pay for the program by taking money from Obamacare's public health fund, which conservatives have derided as a slush fund. Other funding sources include charging higher Medicare premiums to seniors who make more than $500,000 or shortening the grace period for Obamacare enrollees who don't pay their premiums to be taken off the exchanges.
Democrats objected to those ideas, especially charging higher premiums and using the Obamacare fund.
"Democrats are asked to sacrifice the health of some at the expense of others," said Rep. Frank Pallone of New Jersey, the panel's top Democrat.
Republicans responded that the funding ideas are reasonable and that action needs to be taken since the program expired Saturday. Some states will start running out of CHIP funding by late November and others by early 2018.
"This is really important that we reauthorize this bill and get it done today," said Rep. Fred Upton, R-N.J.
The Senate Finance Committee advanced its own version of the program on Wednesday that did not include ways to pay for the program.