Political News

Trump children's health insurance tweet contradicts, confounds

Posted January 18, 2018 9:14 a.m. EST

— President Donald Trump contradicted his own administration on Thursday when he tweeted that funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program should not be included in a short-term plan to fund the government.

"CHIP should be part of a long-term solution, not a 30 Day, or short term, extension," Trump tweeted.

That is the opposite to what his administration said on Wednesday.

"The Administration supports the bill's multiyear funding extension of the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)," the Office of Management and Budget said in a statement. "If H.J. Res. 125 were presented to the President in its current form, his advisors would recommend that he sign the bill into law."

Trump's tweet -- which confounded even Trump's aides inside the West Wing -- threw negotiations over how to fund the government into chaos as a Friday deadline looms. Republicans, including those inside the Trump administration, had planned to use funding for children's health care program to woo Democratic votes for the short-term spending bill.

Multiple White House official did not respond when asked whether Trump would veto a bill that included CHIP funding or why the administration's position changed.

A proposal to fund the government until mid-February unveiled by House GOP leaders earlier this week included a six-year reauthorization of the children's health insurance program, aimed at winning over key Democratic votes in the Senate.

The inclusion of the funding, aides said, was strategic and backed by the White House. Republican aides hope including the popular children's health care program would make it difficult for Democrats, particularly in the Senate, to oppose on both policy and political grounds. And for those that did, that vote would become a potent political issue for Republicans to attack on in the weeks and months ahead.

"I feel that it makes no sense for Democrats to try and bring us to a shutdown, to try and cut off CHIP funding for states that are running out of money like Minnesota, and Washington, and Kentucky, and other states," House Speaker Paul Ryan said Wednesday.

Senate GOP leaders will need roughly 10 Democrats to sign on to measure to fund the government based on Senate rules requiring 60 votes to break a filibuster and advance.