From NBC's John Yang (from the White House) and NBC's Mike Viqueira (from Capitol Hill)
President Bush vetoed the SCHIP bill at about 10 a.m. this morning. In her on-the-record, off-camera gaggle, White House Press Secretary Dana Perino said that after vetoing the bill, President Bush is open to negotiating a deal with congressional Democrats. "The president is willing to listen to ideas ... with the focus on how do you get back to the original intent" of the program.
Asked whether he had reached out to Democrats on the issue, Perino said Pennsylvania Avenue is "a two-way street" and there have been no overtures from the Democrats. Instead, she said, they have "used a lot of different ways to demagogue the issue against the president."
Perino said they have no reason to doubt House Minority Whip Roy Blunt's confidence that the House will sustain the veto.
House Democratic leaders have decided to put off an override vote on the SCHIP veto until October 17. There will, however, be an hour of House floor debate at some point this afternoon on a procedural motion. Dems are also planning a press conference this afternoon. The motion will essentially call for delayed consideration of the override vote. It will pass.
Why put it off? To let the suspense build, and in the meantime pound the living daylights out of Republicans who might be anxious about voting with the president, in the hopes that they will cave. Speaker Pelosi says she needs 15 of them to override. She doesn't mention that she lost eight Democrats (out of 231) when the bill initially passed the House.
The veto message is expected to arrive at the House at 11:45 a.m.