WASHINGTON -- Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean on Saturday criticized Republicans in Congress for not supporting legislation to expand a popular children's health care program.
"The Republican leaders have made their choice. They want to stay in Iraq and deny our kids health care," Dean said in the party's weekly radio address.
He said Republicans support significant borrowing to continue wars in Iraq and Afghanistan but won't support the legislation to increase spending for the State Children's Health Insurance Program.
President Bush on Monday requested $46 billion to continue the war in Iraq and fighting in Afghanistan. The proposal brought to $196.4 billion the total requested for operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere for the budget year that started Oct. 1.
On Oct. 3 Bush vetoed legislation to add $35 billion over five years to the children's health insurance program. The House failed last week to override the veto.
The children's health care program is a joint state-federal effort that subsidizes health coverage for 6.6 million people, mostly children, from families that earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to afford their own private coverage.
"America cannot afford four more years of a president who borrows for the war and denies health insurance for our kids," he said.
Dean also offered his prayers to those affected by the California wildfires and thanked firefighters, the National Guard and others who are lending a hand.
"You serve as a reminder that when we work together, Americans can accomplish anything," he said.
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