Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) was confronted on the Senate floor by his colleague, Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), for not doing enough to save the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Hatch created the program with Senator Edward Kennedy (a Democrat) in 1997, and funding expired about two months ago. The Senate has yet to reauthorize funding for the program.
Hatch essentially claimed there was not enough money to fund the program right now, as it costs $14 billion per year. Despite that fact, Hatch helped push the Republican tax plan through the Senate, which has been estimated to cost the country about $1 trillion.
As the tax plan was being debated, Brown asked if there was some way to get funding secured for CHIP. Hatch responded:
“We’re going to do CHIP, there’s no question about it in my mind. And it’s got to be done the right way. But the reason CHIP’s having trouble is because we don’t have money anymore, and to just add more and more spending and more and more spending, and you can look at the rest of the bill for the more and more spending.”
That was not all for Hatch, however. He also stated:
“I have a rough time wanting to spend billions and billions and trillions of dollars to help people who won’t help themselves, won’t lift a finger and expect the federal government to do everything.”
He also spent time blaming a liberal mindset for making people:
“…who believe everything they are or ever hope to be depend upon the federal government rather than the opportunities that this great country grants them.”
Keep in mind, this was while discussing funding for a program that helps sick children.
CHIP was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1997. Since then, it has dropped the percentage of uninsured children in the United States from 14 percent to 4.5 percent. At least Senator Hatch was able to find money for corporate tax breaks instead. Watch the exchange between Hatch and Brown below: