Enzi Warns That Negotiators Need More Time

Posted July 29, 2009 at 2:07pm

Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) said Wednesday he does not see a way that Senate Finance negotiators can come up with a health care deal before the August recess begins at the end of next week.

Enzi — one of three Finance Republicans negotiating with three Finance Democrats — said the group is “making progress,— but, “I can’t see a way that we can finish before the recess.— Enzi expanded on a statement released earlier in the day by his office.

Enzi said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) could help the process by assuring Republican negotiators that the agreement they come up with will not be eviscerated by a merger with a measure the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee passed on a party-line vote two weeks ago.

He said he is worried that Democratic leaders will bow to liberal demands for a government-run insurance option but use tax and revenue language from the Finance Committee to pay for it.

“I’m not interested in solving the pay-fors so that the HELP Committee’s tragic bill can be the lead line,— said Enzi. “I’m not trusting anybody. I need those assurances to know that what we’re doing isn’t just providing the pay-fors for a very liberal bill.—

Even though he does not believe an agreement can be reached in the next week, he said he hoped to be at a point where most issues have been resolved so that staff could iron out the details over the recess.