A Republican-run House committee has approved a bill financing a health insurance program for low-income children for five more years.
But the two parties are divided over how to pay for the extension. That suggests that final congressional approval will take time.
Pressure is growing on lawmakers to act because federal funding for the program expired last weekend.
Both sides back the program itself, which helps 8.9 million children.
But Democrats oppose how the GOP would finance the bill and a related measure for community health centres. That includes trimming a public health fund established under former President Barack Obama's health care law and strengthening how the government gets reimbursements from private insurers.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee approved the children's health insurance money on a party-line 28-23 vote.
A divided House committee is battling over how to pay for an extension of a health insurance program for millions of low-income children. That suggests congressional action on extending the program will take time, despite growing pressure on lawmakers to act.
The insurance program is backed by both parties, and approval of legislation financing it for the next five years remains virtually certain. It covers 8.9 million children.
Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee want to pay for the extension partly by cutting programs under President Barack Obama's health care law. Democrats are resisting.
The program's federal funding expired four days ago. States aren't expected to immediately run out of money because they can keep using unspent funds. But they could start depleting their money later this year.
A bipartisan bill financing health insurance for millions of low-income children won easy approval Wednesday from the Senate Finance Committee as pressure grew on Congress to act, four days after federal funding for the program expired.
No states are expected to immediately run out of funds for the program, which provides health insurance for 8.9 million children. But several states are preparing to take early steps like notifying beneficiaries that the program might be curtailed.
The program has broad support and the measure is virtually certain to be approved, but it's unclear how quickly that will happen.
Because passage is probably inevitable, lawmakers from both parties are lining up to attach pet provisions to it.