Dems Wrap Up Talks For The Weekend
The New York Times: "White House and Congressional leaders working on a final version of far-reaching health care legislation have wrapped up their discussions - at least for the weekend - and officials will now wait for cost analysis on various proposals to bridge the final differences between the House and Senate version so of the bill." Officials said the list of outstanding items in the talks has narrowed. (Herszenhorn, 1/15)
Politico: "An exhausted looking Harry Reid said this afternoon that negotiators are 'pretty close' to a deal and senators won't be working through the weekend." Sen. Max Baucus, head of the Senate Finance Committee, said, a package would be sent to the Congressional Budget Office for estimate "quickly, soon." (Budoff Brown, O'Connor and Shiner, 1/15)
The break in talks came after some officials had suggested earlier that the negotiators might continue to meet until a deal was forged. MarketWatch reported this afternoon: After health negotiations stretched until the wee hours of the morning Friday, "House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said [later that morning] ... congressional Democrats are 'very close' to reaching final agreement on legislation." He said he hoped that "within the next 24, 48, 72 hours" such agreement would be reached. Meanwhile, Democratic leaders are expected to return to the White House today for more negotiations. This would "mark the third straight day of talks between Obama and Democrats over the health bill. Obama is anxious to sign a bill and move on to other issues including job creation" (Schroeder, 1/15).
The Washington Post: "President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats rushed to strike final deals on historic health care legislation Friday as they nervously eyed next week's special Senate election in Massachusetts that could doom the bill." House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., was hopeful that tax and spending provisions could be sent to the Congressional Budget Office later on Friday. "Still unresolved would be controversial policy issues, such as financing for abortions, and participants said it could easily take days to reach agreement." Also increasing the time pressure
are new poll numbers indicating the election to fill the seat of the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy is tightening. If Republican Scott Brown wins the special election on Tuesday, he has pledged to vote against the health bill -- leaving Democrats one vote short of the necessary 60 (Werner, 1/15).
CBS News' Political Hotsheet: "A new survey shows GOP Senate candidate Scott Brown marginally beating Democratic candidate Martha Coakley in the race to fill the late Ted Kennedy's Senate seat, the first time a major poll has put Brown in the lead." Brown, a state senator, has a 50 percent to 46 percent edge over state attorney general Coakley, according to a new Suffolk University/7News poll. Although within the poll's margin of error, the numbers still represent a remarkable shift (Condon, 1/15).
Bloomberg: "President Barack Obama will campaign Sunday in Massachusetts for the Democratic candidate in a close race to fill the seat held by the late Senator Edward Kennedy." A loss in next week's special election could shake Democratic control of the Senate, allowing Republican filibusters to block legislation, such as the health overhaul (Nichols and Przybyla, 1/15).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.