Political firestorm erupts in Washington after California wildfires

first_imgWASHINGTON – Raging blazes throughout California are sparking a political firestorm in Washington, where House Republicans are trying to douse a vote on children’s health insurance. Seven California GOP lawmakers are in the state today, touring wildfire damage and working to help evacuated constituents. And they are blasting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for holding a contentious vote in their absence that would expand the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. “The Democratic leadership is once again showing that they only care about scoring political points,” said Rep. Jerry Lewis, R-Redlands. “They are showing a blatant disregard for the people we are elected to represent and are trying to help.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.Republicans made several attempts this morning to block the bill from going forward, forcing three procedural votes that would have sent lawmakers home for the week. All three attempts failed. In addition to Lewis, six other California Republicans are in their districts today, including Reps. David Dreier, R-Glendora, Elton Gallegly, R-Thousand Oaks and Ken Calvert, R-Riverside. Pelosi and other Democrat leaders argued that the absence of seven Californians will not change the outcome of the vote. They also noted that critical votes were held in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina even though several lawmakers flew home to address the disaster and were unable to participate. “We all understand how important it is for members to be home with their constituents. But that doesn’t’ mean that we don’t continue with the work of government,” Pelosi said. She contended that California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who supports expanding the children’s health insurance program, personally urged her to go forward. In a phone call about the fires, she said, Schwarzenegger asked her “How are we doing on SCHIP?” last_img read more