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Budget office cuts cost of children's insurance

WASHINGTON (AP)  Congress' official budget analysts have eased one stumbling block to lawmakers' fight over renewing a program that provides health insurance for nearly 9 million low-income children.

The Congressional Budget Office says a Senate bill adding five years of financing to the program would cost $800 million. Previously, the analysts estimated it would cost $8.2 billion.

That means lawmakers should find it much easier to agree to a way to pay for extending the program. 

The lower cost projection doesn't resolve the main barrier the bill faces. Extending the children's health program has become enmeshed in a battle among President Donald Trump and lawmakers over how to protect hundreds of thousands of younger immigrants from deportation, and how much added money should be spent on defense and domestic programs. 

Once those more heated disputes are resolved, the conflict over children's health should end quickly. 

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