Emanuel, Democratic Senators Huddle on Health Care

Posted June 23, 2009 at 6:36pm

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel joined in on a high-level, closed-door meeting on health care with top Senate Democrats on Tuesday evening, a session that comes just as President Barack Obama is turning up the heat to complete a deal this year on the controversial issue.

The meeting, called by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), included members of the Senate leadership as well several Senators who serve on the Finance and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committees, including Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and No. 2 HELP Democrat Chris Dodd (Conn.).

The participants were tight-lipped upon exiting the meeting, revealing few details. But the huddle carried all the appearances of a strategy session to assess progress on a health care reform deal.

“We’re making progress on health care,” Reid said following the meeting.

Also after the meeting, Emanuel said he would communicate what was discussed to the president, with Baucus adding that Emanuel said he wants a bipartisan bill.

“It was a very productive meeting,” Senate Democratic Conference Vice Chairman Charles Schumer (N.Y.) said. “It was the committees, the White House coming together seeing where we’re all at. It was a step in the process; it was very positive.”