The U.S. House's failure Thursday to override President George W. Bush's veto of tobacco tax hike legislation is another break for the industry. The bill would have increased federal tobacco excise taxes the equivalent of 61 cents per pack of cigarettes. . . .
The $35 billion raised by the tobacco tax increase over five years would have offset the cost of expanding the State Children's Health Insurance Program. The bill's supporters said that by 2012, the expansion would have allowed the program to cover nearly 10 million children.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., already has promised to have the same bill back on Bush's desk within two weeks. Asked whether the bill might include an alternative funding source, Pelosi said simply, "no."
Bush vetoed the bill on Oct. 3, arguing that it would encourage families to drop private insurance. He has offered $5 billion that would temporarily increase the number of children enrolled in the program, but would reduce enrollment over the next five years.