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Rangel: Health Care Talks Stalled, Facing ‘Serious Problem’

With all of these issues at a standstill, tensions are growing between the two chambers. Several House lawmakers have voiced frustration with Sens. Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.) and Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) over concessions and special deals they cut in the Senate version.“The Senate is just a pain in the ass to everybody in the world as far as I can tell. I’m so angry that I just wish from now on that we’d just find out what it is that Lieberman and Nelson will let us have,” the senior lawmaker said. “But we’re not giving up on anything in the House.”“We keep hearing them squeal like pigs in the Senate that they had a tough time getting to 60,” Weiner said. “Well, it wasn’t particularly a picnic for us to get to 218. Generally speaking, the Senate kabuki dance has lost its magic on those of us in the House.”And Rangel lamented that throughout the health care debate, Republicans have repeatedly tried to derail the entire process.“They have decided that working with us is not on their agenda … It really takes away from so much of the enjoyment that people get in the House of Representatives. It’s a sad era for our country,” he said.House Democratic leadership aides resoundingly dismissed the notion that health care talks are at an impasse.“The process is absolutely moving forward,” said one senior Democratic aide. “There have been several constructive meetings and conversations over the break that will continue this week, but it is also very important that we talk to members before decisions can be made and they only came back today.”Another Democratic leadership aide added, “It is only Tuesday and we've already had many meetings. Tomorrow is a working meeting with the president and the Senate and House. And staff has been working around the clock. So clearly we are moving forward and continue to work toward a bill.”Tory Newmyer and Steven T. Dennis contributed to this report.

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