Finance Committee Negotiations Stalled

After intense daily negotiations the Senate Finance Committee says it won't vote until after recess

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July 30, 2009 -- After being “on the edge of a deal” earlier this week, the Senate Finance Committee has stalled in its health care negotiations, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is no longer promising that the committee will finish its work before the August recess.

Reid would only say he was “cautiously optimistic” that the committee would vote on a bill before the summer break begins next Friday. But in another blow to President Barack Obama’s attempt to move a bill through Congress by the recess, there were signs Thursday that Senate Democrats would not meet the latest deadline.

A morning negotiation session between the three Republicans and three Democrats did not happen as expected, and no further group meetings have been scheduled – an unusual break from the daily talks that have been ongoing for weeks. Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) spoke individually with senators, but there was confusion among Democratic and Republican staff as all sides tried to figure out where the talks stood.
Republicans, meanwhile, emphasized for the second consecutive day that the bipartisan group was not ready to reach an agreement.
“We're trying to do some really crazy stuff on a really short time frame," Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), a member of the Finance committee, said Thursday.
For an update to this story published Friday as Congress prepares to recess click here.


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