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Reid: Health Care Bill Ready ‘Soon’

Updated: 3:22 p.m.Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) declined Tuesday afternoon to predict when negotiations on a final health care reform bill would be complete, saying only that he hopes to have legislation in hand “soon.—The elite group of Senate negotiators are scheduled to reconvene Tuesday around 6 p.m. in Reid’s office. The talks are set to include Reid, Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Sen. Chris Dodd (Conn.) — the No. 2 Democrat on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee — and senior White House officials. Reid also declined to discuss any decisions that might have been made in the negotiations thus far, including whether the final bill will include a public insurance option.“I have found, in the health care legislation that we have done — let’s not set any deadlines. I’m going to do it just as quickly as I can, with the legislation being as quality as it can be,— Reid told reporters. “I hope to get something to [the Congressional Budget Office] soon.—Reid’s vague answers to questions about the negotiations came moments after Baucus had told reporters how impressed he has been with the openness and “transparency— of the health care reform effort overall. Democrats have come under fire from Republicans for the closed-door nature of the talks in Reid’s office.“I am so proud that this — at how transparent we have been — this open process we have,— Baucus said. “The Finance Committee, the HELP Committee, held countless hearings — all public, all in the open.—

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