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At White House, Gang of Six Pressed to Continue Bipartisan Talks

By Shailagh Murray

President Obama urged six senators to keep up their bipartisan health-care talks, despite scant evidence that their reform legislation is gaining traction among Republicans.

Three Republicans and three Democrats spent an hour with Obama this afternoon, half of it with no staff in attendance. Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) called the meeting "very constructive and very honest."

The group discussed the emerging Finance Committee legislation, but also the political dynamics that emerged in recent days as a potentially greater impediment to a bipartisan deal than any single policy provision.

The main hurdle is the continuing lack of Republican interest in the Finance bill, despite the presence of two conservatives, Sens. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) at the negotiating table. Grassley and Enzi have repeatedly stated that they don't intend to endorse legislation that does not gain a broader GOP following.

Participants said Obama noted other prospective paths to a Senate deal, including - but not limited to - a budget process known as reconciliation, which would limit the scope of the bill, but protect it from a GOP filibuster. "He wants us to keep working," said Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.).

Posted at 2:30 PM ET on Aug 6, 2009  | Category:  Health Care
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With the Whitehouse publically acknowledging it's 'deal' with the pharmaceutical companies and a similar sell out to the equally corrupt insurance companies in the works...there is little left of any good in this 'reform'.
Rather than playing these endless games of denial & recrimination, I suggest we simply buy the healthcare system of one of the countries with a better one. Of course considering Republican cheapness, we might be able to get the Philipines plan...
and it would be an improvement.

Posted by: ares_home | August 7, 2009 7:35 PM

With the Whitehouse publically acknowledging it's 'deal' with the pharmaceutical companies and a similar sell out to the equally corrupt insurance companies in the works...there is little left of any good in this 'reform'.
Rather than playing these endless games of denial & recrimination, I suggest we simply buy the healthcare system of one of the countries with a better one. Of course considering Republican cheapness, we might be able to get the Philipines plan...
and it would be an improvement.

Posted by: ares_home | August 7, 2009 7:33 PM

I believe in civility in politics-- reaching across the isle when it proves feasible for moving an agenda/government forward.

But given all the reports on the intransigence of the Blue Dogs and the remaing three Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee, the time is right for the Dems to call this a 'wrap' and move on.

They have the numbers to pass this legislation. I cannot see any former GOP president with the numbers the Democrats have ...keep at extending a hand for bi-partisanship. Give it to them they understand what political 'capital' means and always use it.

The President unfortunately presses to have these talks at his own peril--hope in the end he proves his supporters wrong on the 'rightness' of this approach. Losing this battle is not a part of their expectations under an Obama presidency. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=drWkn-rtI4w

Posted by: Victoria5 | August 7, 2009 4:50 PM

I believe in civility in politics-- reaching across the isle when it proves feasible for moving an agenda/government forward.

But given all the reports on the intransigence of the Blue Dogs and the remaing three Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee, the time is right for the Dems to call this a 'wrap' and move on.

They have the numbers to pass this legislation. I cannot see any former GOP president with the numbers the Democrats have ...keep at extending a hand for bi-partisanship. Give it to them they understand what political 'capital' means and always use it.

The President unfortunately presses to have these talks at his own peril--hope in the end he proves his supporters wrong on the 'rightness' of this approach. Losing this battle is not a part of their expectations under an Obama presidency. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=drWkn-rtI4w

Posted by: Victoria5 | August 7, 2009 4:35 PM

Now the DNC is deploying AFL-CIO palookas while hypocritically dismissing Obamacare opponents as paid shills -even running disengenuous TV ads to slander them- meanwhile SanFranNan is halucinating and seeing imaginary Swastikas.

This should make clear to anyone just what these far-left elitists think of your opinion.

Note that whenever Obama, Emanuel, or Gibbs are asked about why polls show SO many people oppose their misguided Cap-n-Trade and Obamacare proposals, they ALWAYS segue-right-into “we need to educate the public…”.

LOL- save your breath... Constitutionally-aware patriots don’t take lectures from Marxists.

http://reaganiterepublicanresistance.blogspot.com

Posted by: ReaganiteRepublican | August 7, 2009 2:16 PM

I’m starting to think all of delays are actually helping our cause for united health care. We are having the time to expose the people that are against it. I do have some thoughts I think may help. Why can insurance companies discriminate against old people? I think they should be maid to take seniors (If I could start a business with now risks I would not hesitate to do so). Every one knows the problems with health care. We need to expand their exposure to high risk people this will rain in on their profits and with a strong public option the health care crises will soon be over. Lets not panic give the opposition all the rope they need to hang themselves. Our government needs our support not criticism.

Posted by: belttari159 | August 7, 2009 12:44 PM

I am sending this entire thread to flag@whitehouse.gov

Posted by: JakeD | August 7, 2009 12:16 PM

GANG OF SIX?
SOUNDS LIKE A BUNCH OF CROOKS TO ME.
MAYBE WE NEED TO POST EVERY COMMITTEE MEMBERS AFFILIATION WITH LOBBYIST. WE ALSO NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THEIR HEALTH CORP. INVESTMENTS. IT SEEMS THAT NONE OF THE HEALTH STOCK WENT DOWN WITH THE MARKET.
IT SEEMS NO CORP, DOCTOR OR HOSPITAL OR INSURANCE COMPANY GETS INVESTIGATE OR JAILED FOR ROBINF US BLIND.
THIS BUSINESS OF TORT REFORM IS A JOKE. ABOUT 400,000 PEOPLE DIE EACH YEAR DUE TO MEDICAL ERRORS. WHAT WILL THAT NUMBER BE IF THE HEALTH CARE PEOPLE WERE FREE OF LIABILITY.
HOW MUCH IS IT COSTING PEOPLE WHO ENTER THE HOSPITAL FOR A SIMPLE SURGERY AND GET A VERY DANGEROUS INFECTION WHILE IN THE HOSPITAL AND THEY ARE BILLED FOR THEIR EXTENDED STAY.

Posted by: sm98yth | August 7, 2009 12:06 PM

Basically what the super six are trying to do is guard the special interest that fuels the conflicts of interest in their re-election campaigns and their private business ventures that could come to an end with the new process. Instead of the 1% making huge profits with minimal effort the population will get a far better deal with fair health care. the super six are nothing but porkers that are going to dilute the bill into failure.

Posted by: kimkimminni1 | August 7, 2009 11:30 AM

danielhancock said:

"Senate Democrats have enough votes to pass this if they maintain some party discipline so why have this political theater to give the false impression of bipartisanship?"

I'm not sure it is political theater. The Dems don't have "party discipline" in the GOP sense. There are too many Blue Dogs to count a win as written and progressives may already be jumping ship.

He may need a handful of moderate GOP votes to offset his left wing.

Posted by: JohnQuimby | August 7, 2009 10:01 AM

If am not sure if the Gang of Six is doing any good. There is no amendment that Grassley or Enzi can offer that will really make it acceptable to them or the bulk of the Senate Republicans. Snowe may go along with it so Baucus can say it is bipartisan.

Senate Democrats have enough votes to pass this if they maintain some party discipline so why have this political theater to give the false impression of bipartisanship?

We will probably have another bill like the Cap and Trade Bill that is read by few and that will have no final copy until it actually passes because sections are being cut and pasted in to attract votes of doubtful Senators.

It is a hell of a way to legislate.

Posted by: danielhancock | August 6, 2009 11:38 PM

Making sausage is not pretty and doing it in public carries risks for the president.
I congratulate him for being bold enough to lead the effort.

That said, any bill that has no national health option will be seen as a defeat for progressives and will weaken support in the president's own party. And a win on any national health care bill will be seen as another defeat for the right. Neither position, staked out by political strategists in the media, offers the same result as conclusively addressing the issues.

Congress was elected to work out a win for the American people on health care and to put it on the President's desk.

Instead, the GOP is denying their obligation to serve the expressed will of the majority. And many Democrats behave as though Obama's election conferred some sort of received wisdom upon THEM. Sorry, but an epic fail on the right is no direct endorsement of the remaining party. Maybe that's why we're still waiting for some to present their bona-fides.

We need more practical solutions, not more political fund raisers.

Posted by: JohnQuimby | August 6, 2009 10:46 PM

Every time you get your mail thank socialism. When you call the police you are calling a socialist employee. Firemen are part of a socialist conspiracy too. Don't forget librarians, all government employees and even the garbage collector. The armed forces work for the government, more socialists. Haliburton ripoff artists and blackwater private police are not answerable to us. The government is us. We sometimes forget that because we are told it is the villain. The real villains always turn out to be the corporations. They are funding the campaign to keep us from taking control of our health care. They pay posters to dazzle you with their intricately weaved lies backed up by phony documentation and reference material. All you need is common sense. Some things should not be done for profit and health care is one of them. If you don't think so call Blackwater next time you need a cop.

Posted by: seemstome | August 6, 2009 9:17 PM

The longer the Senate Finance Committee keeps wasting time on a bipartisan bill ... the longer Obama can avoid taking a stand on any controversial Health Care issues.

Posted by: cautious | August 6, 2009 6:41 PM

They've moved the debate in the wrong direction. Real healthcare reform is in the mission statement from the www.millionmedmarch.com website. Less government, more freedom for the individual, less collectivism.

Posted by: concernedaboutUS | August 6, 2009 5:48 PM

You know the GOPers are going nuts when Baucus threatens to break off bipartisan talks...

http://www.political-buzz.com/

Posted by: parkerfl1 | August 6, 2009 4:23 PM

MR. PRESIDENT, TEAM OBAMA: Before compromising yourself into a policy defeat, ask yourself, in light of the Democratic Congressional majority:

What would FDR have done?


http://nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-terrorizes-america

http://NowPublic.com/scrivener RE: "GESTAPO USA"

Posted by: scrivener50 | August 6, 2009 3:55 PM

The republicans can only filibuster with support of senators in the democratic caucus ... isn't that the real story? which senator in the caucus is willing to filibuster his/her party's legislation?

Posted by: freddiano | August 6, 2009 3:51 PM

I'm fine with bi-partisan talks. It's the actual voting for government-sponsored healthcare, including taxpayer-funded abortions, where I draw the line.

Posted by: JakeD | August 6, 2009 3:02 PM

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