Senate Finance Committee Vote Delayed
The Senate Finance Committee will delay its vote on health care reform - and, likely the bill's move to the Senate floor - as members await cost estimates by the Congressional Budget Office.
The Washington Post: "The Senate Finance Committee wrapped up work Friday on a reform bill, but committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) promised his members that before voting they would have a 'reasonable' amount of time to review the bill's price tag, as assessed by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. That report, committee aides said Monday, will arrive later than expected. The panel's vote is expected to be close, and passage could hinge on a handful of senators who have indicated that the CBO's report may sway them." Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has already begun merging the Finance bill with the one from the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (Murray and Wilson, 10/6).
One of those senators is Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine. Roll Call reports that Reid and the Obama administration "really, really, really want her vote when the bill comes to the Senate floor. Reid has called her proposal to create a trigger for the public insurance option 'a doggone good idea,' and the White House has made no secret of its interest in exploring that plan if it assures Snowe's vote. Under the proposal, a public insurance option would be created only if private insurers could not lower costs and increase coverage on their own" (Pierce, 10/6).
Politico reports on the day's developments in reform efforts: "Turns out that for the past week, aides to President Barack Obama have been meeting with senior Democratic congressional staffers to discuss how to include a public plan in the reform bill that Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will bring to the Senate floor, the Los Angeles Times reported. The development jibes with other reports that Senate moderates are starting to get in line behind a public option" (Frates, 10/6).