Baucus Says Time Is Running Out for Health Care Negotiators

Posted September 8, 2009 at 4:43pm

Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) signaled late Tuesday that a months-long effort to negotiate a bipartisan health care bill in his committee could be on its last leg, and indicated he was prepared to move legislation absent a deal.Baucus, following a nearly two-hour meeting of the group of six bipartisan Finance negotiators, said he asked his counterparts to meet with him again Wednesday at 10 a.m., and to come armed with counterproposals based on the framework of a comprehensive health care reform bill he circulated over the weekend. Baucus said he would prefer to have a bipartisan deal in place before President Barack Obama delivers his address to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday night.“Time is running out very quickly,— Baucus told reporters.Sen. Mike Enzi (Wyo.), one of three Republican negotiators in the group, declined to comment on what was discussed in Tuesday’s meeting. Enzi also declined to reveal his opinion of Baucus’ health care proposal.However, he did confirm that he remains involved in the talks, rebuffing speculation that he has already decided to pull out.“I don’t try and negotiate any of this stuff through the press,— Enzi said.