Senator Shelley Moore Capito touches on CHIP, tax bill

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HARRISON COUNTY, W.Va (WDTV) - With the possibility of a government shutdown looming, Republicans in the House of Representatives are working on a short-term spending measure to keep the government open.

If a bill is not passed by midnight on Friday, the government will shut down.

In a conversation with 5 News Wednesday, Republican Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va) said she will do everything in her power to ensure that does not happen.

But no matter how hard she tries, ultimately, Congressional leaders and the White House need Democratic votes in order to pass a long-term spending passage.

The short-term measure allows Congressional leaders to continue negotiations over politically fraught issues like immigration.

Democratic Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va) has made it clear that he wants the reauthorization of the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in any spending package offered.

Federal funds for the program dried up on September 30.

CHIP covers nearly nine million children, including more than 21,000 in West Virginia. If it is not reauthorized by the end of the month, several states will run out of money for the program.

West Virginia will halt program enrollment in February, unless the program is reauthorized.

Capito joined Manchin in urging Congress to reauthorize CHIP by the end of the year.

"I do believe that CHIP will be reauthorized at the end of the year," said Sen. Capito. "Republicans and Democrats are pulling together. I have written a letter yesterday and have voiced my concern all throughout this process."

5 News asked Capito if her vote on any spending bill would be contingent on the renewal of the program.

"It's essential that we pass it," she said. "What bill it's in and what form it takes, I wouldn't want to speculate there, but I think we need to have it reauthorized by the end of the year."

The conversation surrounding CHIP has largely been overshadowed by the Republicans' focus on passing tax reform.

Last week, Sen. Capito and 50 of her Republican colleagues voted to pass the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, and send it to a conference committee with the House of Representatives.

"We haven't done real reform in any years to small businesses and corporation taxes, and we need to make our products competitive globally," Capito said, arguing that the bill would power economic growth and job creation.

She added that the provision to cut corporate taxes from 35% to 20% will "jumpstart the economy," and that the doubling of the standard deduction and child tax credit will bring relief to middle class families in West Virginia.

But Sen. Manchin and other critics have slammed the plan, pointing out that while the tax cuts to corporations are permanent, many cuts to individuals are temporary, sunsetting in 2025.

According to the Joint Committee on Taxation, by 2027, Americans earning under $75,000 will start to see their taxes go up.

Sen. Capito believes that come 2025, Congress won't let the tax cuts expire.

"I think you'll see that Congress be faced with a choice: 'Do we want to raise taxes on individuals or do we want to keep the tax cuts in place on individuals?'" she said. "And I believe overwhelmingly, we will keep the tax cuts in place for individuals and we will also be the beneficiary of a growing economy."