Senate Negotiators Have ‘Productive’ Phone Call, Despite Tensions
A group of Senate negotiators, known as the Gang of Six, held a teleconference today to discuss their efforts to craft a bipartisan reform bill in the Finance Committee, USA Today reports. The group, which includes three Republicans and three Democrats, went into the call on the heels of a rough patch, with Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, asking supporter for help defeating "Obama-care" and Democrats attacking Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., for making critical remarks.
However, the Finance Committee's top Democrat, Sen. Max Baucus, of Montana, was optimistic after the call. "Today's call was a productive one," he 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" (Fritze, 9/4).
However, Baucus also "indicated Friday he'll move ahead with a bill soon, whether or not the bipartisan negotiations he's been focused on produce a compromise," the Associated Press reports. The group is scheduled to meet in person Tuesday (9/4).