World and Nation

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Congress Set for Veto Fight On Child Health Measure

President Bush and the Democratic-controlled Congress prepared Monday for a showdown over the future of health insurance for more than 10 million children.

Supporters of the legislation, which has broad bipartisan support, mobilized lobbyists — 400 from the American Cancer Society alone — and began advertising to win the votes needed to override a veto threatened by Bush. The president says the measure, which would renew and expand the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, costs too much and would be “an incremental step toward the goal of government-run health care for every American.”

The bill would cover 4 million children, in addition to the 6.6 million already enrolled. The overwhelming majority of those on the rolls are in low-income families. The House plans to vote on the measure as early as Tuesday and the Senate is expected to pass the legislation a day or two later.

U.S. Sues Illinois to Let Employers Use Immigrant Databases

The Bush administration sued the state of Illinois on Monday, hoping to block a new state law that bars employers from using a federal database to verify that immigrant job applicants are in the United States legally and are authorized to work.

With the suit, officials said, the administration is going on the offensive in the courts in response to cases intended to stall a crackdown on illegal immigration that the federal authorities announced last month.

“We will vigorously contest any effort to impede our enforcement measures,” the Homeland Security secretary, Michael Chertoff, said yesterday in a telephone interview.

The suit, brought by Chertoff’s department, seeks to stop Illinois from putting into effect a law that prohibits employers from enrolling in the federal worker verification database program.

The program, formerly known as Basic Pilot, was renamed E-Verify last month.

Firm Seeks Approval to Build Nuclear Reactors

In a bid to take the lead in the race to revive the nuclear power industry, an energy company will ask the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Tuesday for permission to build two reactors in Texas.

It is the first time since the 1970s and the accident at Three Mile Island that an American power company has sought the right to add a nuclear plant to the existing array of operable reactors, which now number 104.

The company, NRG Energy, based in Princeton, N.J., wants to be the first to pour concrete in the main section of the plant, allowing it to qualify for the maximum federal benefits, David Crane, its chief executive, said in a telephone interview.

NRG is applying under a new process intended to avoid the extensive delays and cost overruns in the last round of nuclear construction. In the 1970s and ’80s, more than 100 of the first-generation reactor projects were canceled, some abandoned in late stages of construction, mostly because they no longer made financial sense.