President Bush vetoed on Wednesday a proposed expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program, despite bipartisan support for the measure in Congress.
"If Democrats are serious about extending the SCHIP program in a responsible, sustainable way, they'll have to start working with House Republicans to craft a bill that can be signed into law," he said last week in a statement.
"Because the Congress has chosen to send me a bill that moves our health-care system in the wrong direction, I must veto it," Bush said Wednesday. "I hope we can now work together to produce a good bill that puts poorer children first."
A continuing resolution will maintain current funding for the program through mid-November.
The next step is for lawmakers to work on a new compromise.
"I think at this time there will be no new compromise until after the override veto vote, which may happen in the next couple weeks or so," said Edwin Park, senior fellow with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
Bush has emphasized that the program should focus more on children in families with incomes under 200% of the federal poverty level -- about $41,000 for a family of four.
"He wants to make sure that the neediest children are covered first. ... He does want to work with members of Congress to see if we can find common ground," said Dana Perino, White House spokeswoman, at a Wednesday press event.
Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, vowed that Congress will "fight hard" to override the veto.
"Never has it been clearer how detached President Bush is from the priorities of the American people," he said. "With today's veto, President Bush has turned his back on America's children and he stands alone."
Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., the House speaker, said Wednesday that lawmakers will probably take up a bill to override Bush's veto in two weeks.
"I promise you a vigorous fight," she said at an event on Capitol Hill.