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Baucus Says Finance Negotiators Still Making Progress

The bipartisan gang of six Senate Finance Committee negotiators broke for the evening Tuesday with reports of continued progress on a consensus health care deal, although panel Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) declined to divulge specific details, as has been his custom.

Baucus said the group has reached an agreement on a couple of key points, indicating that issues relating to the cost of health care reform have been “nailed down.— He said Tuesday’s meeting revolved around policy sticking points.

When asked if he was ready to predict a timeline for announcing the framework of a deal, Baucus hesitated for a moment before finally choosing to remain noncommittal.

“I’d rather not say at this point,— he said.

When asked to react to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) assertion earlier Tuesday that he expects the Finance panel to mark up a bill before adjourning for the August recess next week, Baucus responded similarly.

“We’re doing our very best. We’re ready when we’re ready. That’s all I can say,— he said.