This means the future of CHIP remains precarious, as House lawmakers on both sides of the aisle dig in their heels and Senate leaders fail to reach a basic agreement on the status of young, undocumented immigrants.
The announcement late Sunday night that Senate leaders had failed to reconcile their differences quashed earlier optimism that a deal could be reached after a day’s worth of bipartisan talks led by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine).
As Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) shuttled between the offices of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), lawmakers and staff grew optimistic for a deal broached before a schedule vote at 1:00 a.m. on Monday.
By early Sunday evening, senators were predicting the vote would move up a few hours. But soon it was clear the leaders were still at an impasse. McConnell adjourned the Senate until Monday when he said talks would resume.
The prolonged shutdown puts additional stress on states like Alabama that are slated to run out of CHIP funding in a matter of weeks.
So far, states have paused the efforts they started in December to freeze enrollment and potentially terminate their programs.
Cathy Caldwell, CHIP director for Alabama, said last week that if the House-passed budget measure didn’t make it through the Senate she would once again set deadlines for the program.
In Virginia, the new governor and new legislature have just started the general assembly session and the health services director Linda Nablo said she has been briefing them on the latest on CHIP funding just in case they need to “make decisions quickly.”
Susannah Luthi covers health policy and politics in Congress for Modern Healthcare. Most recently, Luthi covered health reform and the Affordable Care Act exchanges for Inside Health Policy. She returned to journalism from a stint abroad exporting vanilla in Polynesia. She has a bachelor’s degree in Classics and journalism from Hillsdale College in Michigan and a master’s in professional writing from the University of Southern California.