The CHIP program has typically received overwhelming support on Capitol Hill from both sides of the aisle. Unlike the Affordable Care Act — which has polarized legislators since the day it passed — CHIP was created with a bipartisan vote in 1997. At the time, it was championed by Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT).
When its budget came up for re-authorization in late 2017, however, things seemed to be different. The program got caught up in heated political negotiations about the future of some of the most polarizing issues in Congress: Obamacare and immigration policy.
Last fall, Republicans proposed a plan to extend the CHIP program for an additional five years. But that plan included a series of deeply partisan spending cuts to cover the costs of extending CHIP — such as slashing Obamacare programs and Medicare — and Democrats refused to support the bill.
This left the program in budgetary limbo, and the Trump administration scrambling to send emergency funds to the states that were closest to running out of money (all states had some money left over from their last budget to keep running the program, but the amount varied significantly from one to another).
Congress did pass a short-term funding patch for CHIP in late December but that only secured funding through mid-January, creating another funding cliff that collided with the entire federal government's budget running out.
Republicans proposed a second plan to fund the CHIP program in mid-January: attaching a six-year extension of the CHIP program to a four-week continuing resolution that would fund the rest of the government.
But Democrats initially rejected that plan as well because it did nothing to address the end of the DACA program, which allows unauthorized immigrants who came to the US as children to live and work without the threat of deportation. DACA protections run out by March 5. Senate Democrats insisted that any funding bill would also need to include a deal on the immigration issue as well. This lead to the government shutdown that began Saturday morning.
By Monday morning, however, there was a breakthrough: Senate Democrats agreed to support a three-week budget extension of the federal budget — with the six-year extension of CHIP and with a promise of a vote on a bill to address the status of DACA recipients (the exact language and policy of that bill remain unclear).
What happens next with DACA is still very much up in the air. There may well be another government shutdown in three weeks, if Congress can't agree on what policies should be used to protect the immigrants the program covers.
But it appears that CHIP will be in a much different place, with its budget secured for an additional six years.