Skip to content

Finance Negotiators to Meet Again Tuesday

Updated: 3:25 p.m.Senate Finance Committee negotiators, meeting via teleconference Friday, failed to reach a breakthrough on a bipartisan health care reform package, but the panel’s chairman appeared optimistic that a deal can still be reached and said the group would reconvene again Tuesday.Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) noted in his prepared statement that the bipartisan group of six Senators would meet next week to determine the best way forward. Baucus did not say specifically that the talks would continue as they have. Baucus has previously given the negotiations a Sept. 15 deadline for a deal, or he would pursue other options to move a bill through his committee.“After a month in our states, we’ll sit down together on Tuesday, take stock of where we are and determine how to best pass real reform,— Baucus said in a statement after the meeting. “I am committed to getting health care reform done — done soon and done right.—The six Finance negotiators — three Democrats and three Republicans — have been trying to reach a health care reform deal since June. They left for the August recess without an agreement but said they would continue to press ahead. The negotiators include Baucus, ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Democratic Sens. Jeff Bingaman (N.M.) and Kent Conrad (N.D.) and GOP Sens. Mike Enzi (Wyo.) and Olympia Snowe (Maine). The group met two weeks ago, also by teleconference, but didn’t appear to make much progress toward an agreement.Citing several areas of general agreement among the group of negotiators, Baucus suggested that a deal among the six remains possible.“Today’s call was a productive one,— Baucus said. “We addressed a number of issues at hand and the next steps moving forward. Health reform is certainly a significant challenge and each time we talk, we are reminded just how many areas of agreement exist. We agree we need to take control of health care costs and make health insurance affordable for families and small businesses. We agree all Americans should be able to choose — and be able to afford — a quality health care plan. And, we agree health care reform should be fiscally responsible and not add to the deficit.—Snowe, a key moderate whose vote could prove crucial, reaffirmed her support for the bipartisan talks. In a statement released after Friday’s teleconference, she said the negotiators will continue to work toward a deal.“Today’s discussion was both productive and constructive, as we continue to move forward as a group toward a shared goal of producing an historic, bipartisan agreement on health reform legislation,— Snowe said. “When Congress returns to session next week, we will be working with the same intensity we’ve brought to bear this year to achieve a consensus bill — as I believe we must reduce the costs of health care and make coverage more affordable for all Americans.—

Recent Stories

Alabama IVF ruling spurs a GOP reckoning on conception bills

House to return next week as GOP expects spending bills to pass

FEC reports shine light on Super Tuesday primaries

Editor’s Note: Never mind the Ides of March, beware all of March

Supreme Court to hear arguments on online content moderation

In seeking justice by jury trials, Camp Lejeune veterans turn to Congress