Last week, the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate opened here in Boston. The institute features a to-scale replica of the Senate chamber and will be used as a tool to teach civic engagement, negotiation and debate. The dedication of the institute was a moving tribute to Senator Kennedy and to the legislative body in which he served for 47 years.

It is also a fitting acknowledgement of the  man who worked tirelessly toward health care coverage and access for all Americans that, next week, the Senate will return from recess and resume its consideration of a H.R. 2, a legislative package that would extend the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Senator Kennedy and Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) worked with colleagues from both sides of the aisle to launch CHIP in 1997, and more than 17 years later, this program is still vital to the health and well-being of millions of children across the country.

The Senate must act quickly next week to extend CHIP and protect the coverage of 8 million children. Advocates and governors across the country have asked Congress to continue CHIP. We are hopeful that the Senate will move swiftly to answer them.