Senate Set To Approve Bipartisian Tax Increase

The Senate is set to approve a cigarette tax increase to increase funding for the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).

Senators are likely to propose raising the federal cigarette tax to fund an expansion in children’s health insurance coverage.

White no final decisions have been made, Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Finance Committee, said he expected to have a “bipartisan bill” and hinted broadly of support for raising cigarette tax to help meet costs. “I think you have to conclude…that there is a lot of interest in increasing the cigarette tax at some level. At what level, I don’t know.”

Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D., Mont.) said a bipartisan meeting of senators today showed “surprising agreement” on how to re-authorize and expand the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. The committee might consider the legislation as soon as next week.

It is unclear how much the expansion would cost, though Baucus has proposed spending $50 billion over five years. Senators at today’s meeting indicated a preference for focusing on uninsured children, though they may allow adults already covered by some states to continue getting coverage. The size of the package “will be determined by policy,” Baucus said. “We’re letting the numbers be driven by the policy.”

So we have Republicans and Democrats agreeing to pass tax increases in order to fund social welfare programs. What are the differences between the parties again???

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