(Dec. 11) – Today, 53 Democratic members of the Colorado General Assembly sent a letter to Senator Cory Gardner urging him and his colleagues to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The Republican controlled Congress failed to reauthorize the vital CHIP program before funding expired this past September, putting nearly 9 million children across the country at risk of losing health care.

“75,761 Colorado children and expectant mothers depend on the program for health insurance. It is unacceptable that despite broad bipartisan support for reauthorizing this critical program, it has languished for months in the Senate,” the lawmakers wrote.

“Senator Gardner, you have said that you support reauthorization of the program, and co-sponsored bipartisan legislation with Senator Bennet to reauthorize CHIP,” the letter continued. “That support is hollow if you and your Republican colleagues do nothing to advance the legislation. As an influential member of Senate leadership, our expectation is that you would zealously advocate for Colorado’s priorities to become the US Senate’s priorities.”

“Instead of passing tax breaks for corporations and the ultra-wealthy, Congress should be working to provide relief and security to the thousands of Colorado children and hardworking families who depend on the vital CHIP program,” said Speaker Crisanta Duran (D-Denver). “There’s no more time to waste. Congress has to prioritize CHIP now.”

“Senator Gardner just voted for a GOP tax bill that adds $1.5 trillion to the deficit in order to cut taxes for the 1% and corporations — that’s enough money to extend CHIP for the next 937 years,” said Senate Minority Leader Lucia Guzman (D-Denver). “There is absolutely no excuse for anything less than a full-throated defense of the CHIP program. The health of tens of thousands of Colorado children depends on it.”

The full letter can be found here. The letter was signed by Representative Jeni Arndt, Representative KC Becker, Representative Adrienne Benavidez, Representative Jeff Bridges, Representative Janet Buckner, Representative James Coleman, Representative Jessie Danielson, Representative Crisanta Duran, Representative Daneya Esgar, Representative Tony Exum, Sr., Representative Mike Foote, Representative Alec Garnett, Representative Joann Ginal, Representative Matt Gray, Representative Millie Hamner, Representative Chris Hansen, Representative Leslie Herod, Representative Edie Hooton, Representative Dominique Jackson, Representative Chris Kennedy, Representative Tracy Kraft-Tharp, Representative Pete Lee, Representative Susan Lontine, Representative Barbara McLachlan, Representative Jovan Melton, Representative Dafna Michaelson Jenet, Representative Dan Pabon, Representative Brittany Pettersen, Representative Dylan Roberts, Representative Paul Rosenthal, Representative Joseph Salazar, Representative Jonathan Singer, Representative Donald Valdez, Representative Mike Weissman, Representative Faith Winter, Representative Dave Young, Senator Irene Aguilar, Senator Lois Court, Senator Kerry Donovan, Senator Steve Fenberg, Senator Leroy Garcia, Senator Lucia Guzman, Senator Cheri Jahn, Senator Matt Jones, Senator Daniel Kagan, Senator John Kefalas, Senator Andy Kerr, Senator Michael Merrifield, Senator Dominick Moreno, Senator Nancy Todd, Senator Angela Williams and Senator Rachel Zenzinger

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