I think it might be helpful to put a stake in the ground about what is and what isn’t bi-partisanship early on in this administration so we won’t be arguing about it constantly.

To me, the passage of SCHIP by the Senate this week is a good guide. Because when more than 20% of the opposition party crosses the aisle for something that doesn’t necessarily fit into their ideology, that feels like the kind of bi-partisanship we need right now.

Here’s more from CNN:

The vote in the Senate was 66-32. All those voting against the bill were Republicans, but nine Republicans voted in favor.

The bill now moves to the House. Although the House passed a similar bill earlier this month, the Senate made a change involving physician-owned hospitals, so the House will vote again. […]

SCHIP covers more than 6 million children whose parents earn too much to qualify for Medicaid — the federal health insurance program for the poor — but who can’t afford private insurance.

The bill’s supporters say it would extend the program to an estimated 4 million additional children, paying for it with a 61-cent-per-pack increase in the federal tax on cigarettes.

Opponents argued that, among other things, it will allow undocumented immigrants to illegally access taxpayer-financed healthcare, and is insufficiently funded.

By the way, has anybody else noticed how some in the media and the blogosphere have essentially said “bi-partisanship is dead” after the House Repubs vote unanimously against the stimulus package?

If so, remember those voices because they’re the folks who’d probably rather have conflict because it’s good for business. I’m not saying all of them are dishonest brokers, but just be wary. Because to state something like that after 10 days of Obama being in office seems pretty transparent to me.

Politics What Is Bi-Partisanship?