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Finance Negotiators to Hold Teleconference on Friday

The bipartisan group of Senate Finance Committee members hoping to reach a compromise on health care reform is set to resume its discussions via teleconference at 10:30 a.m. Friday, according to Senate sources.The group of three Democratic and three Republican Senators, led by Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), has met once during the August recess, with no breakthroughs in the talks. Although the participants have continued to express optimism that the negotiations will bear fruit, it remains unclear whether a deal can be reached by Sept. 15, Baucus’ deadline for an agreement.Some have speculated that President Barack Obama’s plan to address Congress on Wednesday night is a signal that the White House and Senate Democratic leaders have already concluded that the Finance negotiators will fail to reach a deal. Obama is expected to lay out more details of his health care plans in the rare joint address.The group of six Finance negotiators include Baucus, Grassley, Democratic Sens. Jeff Bingaman (N.M.) and Kent Conrad (N.D.) and GOP Sens. Mike Enzi (Wyo.) and Olympia Snowe (Maine).

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