Just days into the August recess, Senators in both parties already appear to be feeling the heat over health care reform. And at least two leading Senators on Sunday showed a willingness to find some middle ground. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said Sunday on CNNs State of the Union that he is committed to getting a bipartisan bill, even if it means sacrificing a public insurance option.It doesnt have to be a perfect bill, Durbin said. I support a public option, but yes I am open. I want to make sure we do something positive for the American people.Yet Durbin said that if bipartisan talks break down, he still wants to see Members get something done. I dont want to see health care reform fail, he said, noting that its an opportunity that only comes along once in a political lifetime.But Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said that many of the current proposals amount to a government takeover of health care.While theres a lot of middle ground where we can meet, Cornyn said, I dont see how we can make much headway unless the public insurance option is off the table entirely.Cornyn indicated that one area of agreement is on insurance reform.Durbin said that he, too, is for insurance reform, but that the industry is standing in the way. The health insurance industry is fighting us on this, he said.Both Durbin and Cornyn agreed that Senators need to take time to get health reform right. In the meantime, Durbin said the disruptive protesters from both sides of the debate at town-hall meetings arent facilitating bipartisanship. That isnt helpful, he said.Durbin added that its OK for the Obama administration to track whats going on at town-hall meetings in order to dispel any myths or inaccurate information. For example, Durbin said that the government is not going to pay for abortions and that huge Medicare cuts wont happen either. He also said that Cornyn is wrong in calling it a government takeover of health care.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.