Washington — Shrugging off a barrage of political attacks, House Republicans are on track to hand President Bush a victory this week by upholding his veto of legislation expanding children's health coverage.
To understand why, consider Utah, where Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch is an outspoken supporter of the measure - and the state's two GOP House members oppose it.
Rep. Rob Bishop called the vetoed bill a "dumb idea" for relying on higher tobacco taxes to pay for insuring children, a provision he said would create a need for new smokers.
And Rep. Chris Cannon said that while he agrees with Hatch on one point, they part company on another. "This is a profoundly moral issue," he said in an interview. "But that doesn't mean the government should do it. Government isn't very good at doing some things, mostly because of rigidity."
With a vote set for Thursday, not even Democrats predict they will amass the two-thirds majority needed to override Bush's veto, even on an issue that polls exceptionally well with the public.
While at least a half-dozen Democratic lawmakers who declined to support the measure in September are expected to vote to override the veto, not a single Republican has announced plans to switch.