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Senate Finance Negotiators Call It a Night Sans Deal

The gang of six bipartisan negotiators in the Senate Finance Committee adjourned Tuesday evening without a deal in hand, leaving Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) to formally unveil his health care reform bill Wednesday without the consensus he has sought.However, Baucus and the other negotiators said Tuesday that they would continue to work toward a bipartisan health care bill in the hopes that an agreement can be reached by the time legislation comes up for a final committee vote. Baucus confirmed he will drop his bill Wednesday, with markup set to begin Sept. 22.“We’re continuing to meet — keep discussing, keep negotiating,— Baucus said, following the meeting. “It’s true I’ll be putting out a mark tomorrow. … Hope always springs eternal that one or two or three [Senators] may be there tomorrow.—The gang of six includes Baucus, Finance 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).Tuesday evening’s meeting focused on the proposal to expand Medicaid to the uninsured poor, as laid out by the Baucus bill, and how much of that expansion would be paid for by the states. The negotiators spent much of their session discussing this proposal with a bipartisan group of governors, who joined the Senators by telephone.

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