Sound Off: Some Lawmakers Talking Up Baucus Bill, Grassley ‘Resents’ President’s Remarks
Some lawmakers are touting the Baucus bill's potential and bickering among themselves and the White House about how reform plans are taking shape.
Four centrists in the Senate said the Baucus Bill has potential Thursday. Roll Call: "Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) did not endorse all aspects of the bill Baucus unveiled Wednesday, but they said in a statement that his measure 'has the potential to gain broad bipartisan support'" (Pierce, 9/17).
Not everyone's happy. Sen. Chuck Grassley, of Iowa, reacted strongly to President Obama's insinuation that he was insincere on working to find a bipartisan agreement on health care reform. The Hill: "'I kind of resent that, when I've been very candid with the president of the United States' about his positions on contentious issues in healthcare reform, Grassley said" (Young, 9/17).
Roll Call in a second story: "'I'll tell ya, there's some things the president has since then that I took very personally,' Grassley told reporters. 'He gave some speeches during August in which he was associating me with efforts to make [Baucus' bill] a political document and with efforts that other people in the country were [making] to give extremes - like on the end of life situation. And associating me with things that - I used the words he said - but associating me with other efforts to kill it'" (Drucker, 9/17).
Iowans are telling Grassley to stick with the bipartisan talks, a new poll finds, the Des Moines Register reports: "The Iowa Poll, taken this week for The Des Moines Register, shows that 52 percent of Iowans would rather see Grassley compromise with Democrats than walk away from the negotiations. Thirty-nine percent would rather see him drop out of the talks than support proposals he disagrees with. Nine percent are unsure" (Leys, 9/18).
House Minority Leader John Boehner said there's a long road ahead before votes on a health reform bill. The Hill in a second story: "Despite rhetoric from Democrats to the contrary, Boehner contended that if the at-times contentious public meetings with lawmakers had no impact, then the House would have voted on a healthcare bill by now" (Hooper, 9/17).
Finally, CBS News reports that Michael Steele, Republican National Committee chairman, said the Baucus bill represents a "baby step" in the process, but was "very bipartisan" (Alfano, 9/17).
That's not stopping Democrats from looking to fill former Sen. Edward Kennedy's seat for their 60th vote to stop a potential Republican filibuster, CongressDaily reports: "'We're feeling good,' (Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.) said Thursday, citing news reports that Bay State Democrats appeared to have the votes to send the measure to Gov. Deval Patrick for his signature, despite a potential delay in the state's Senate due to GOP opposition. The measure would allow Patrick to name an interim senator immediately, with that person serving until a special election in January. It would mandate the appointee come from the same party as the former senator" (Friedman, 9/18).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.