House, Senate Lawmakers Race To Find Compromise, But Differ On Key Issues
"Facing an electorate more worried about jobs and the economy than healthcare, House and Senate Democrats have stepped up efforts to get a compromise bill to President Obama by the end of the month," the Los Angeles Times reports. Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, summarized the message she gleaned from holiday meetings with local voters: "Get it over with." Political fatigue has set the stage for a push by Democrats to send a bill to Obama by the month's end, which means resolving a list of thorny issues. Industry and interest groups despite Democrats' race with the clock are also stepping up last-minute lobbying efforts (Levey and Hook, 1/13).
Reuters: "Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives struggled on Tuesday to find common ground with the Senate on how to pay for a healthcare reform bill, with the differences over taxes emerging as the biggest stumbling block to a quick deal." Because the House passed its version in November with only three votes to spare, and the Senate last month by a single vote, leaders in both chambers feel they have little wiggle room without risking crucial votes (Whitesides and Smith, 1/12).
The Washington Post: "Negotiators for both chambers have been working virtually around the clock to resolve their differences, and aides say a broad framework for compromise is beginning to emerge." But, no final agreement has been reached on key issues, such as whether the wealthy or people with costly insurance plans should be taxed to pay for the overhaul, and whether states or the federal government should operate so-called exchanges to help people shop for insurance (Montgomery, 1/12).