A final vote on SCHIP is expected today - Thursday, Janaury 29, 2009..

January 29, 2009 - Senate Republicans fell short Wednesday, January 28, 2009 in their efforts to curtail the expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), the government health insurance program for lower-income children, said the Associated Press.

Democrats defeated amendments that would have prohibited federal funding for coverage of children in families with incomes above $65,000, or the median state income; that would have not allowed federal funding to extend coverage to children of new legal immigrants; and that would have denied aid to groups that may be involved in abortion but also work on other health care issues abroad.

Senator Jim Webb (D-Va.) on Tuesday, January 27, 2009 introduced an amendment to the SCHIP bill, along with Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) that would substitute the 61-cents-per-pack cigarette tax increase with a tax on carried interest, which are profits that hedge fund managers receive as compensation, according to the most recent PMAA News from Capitol Hill newsletter from the Petroleum Marketers Association of America. The amendment would subject cigarettes to a 37-cents-per-pack increase instead of the 61-cents-per-pack increase.

The lower tax would generate $11.2 billion in revenue over five years, said Webb. He argued that most of the states already impose and may raise their excise taxes on cigarettes, in addition to the currently proposed 39-cents-per-pack federal tax increase, which would burden lower-income households who are more likely to use tobacco products.

PMAA has talked to Webb's staff and is awaiting a response from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on the fate of the amendment, it said.

Other amendments that were considered.

Reference: Webb Champions Tobacco
Introduces SCHIP amendment to reduce cigarette tax increase by more than half
, Convenience Store / Petroleum (CSP) Daily News, 1/29/2009 - the text of Senator Webb's amendment can be found.

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Lawmakers in Washington are working to reauthorize the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) before it expires on September 30, 2007...