Share this story
Close X
Switch to Desktop Site

Senate's 'Gang of Six' key to healthcare reform

Finance Committee chairman Baucus tries for bipartisanship. But critics in his own party worry that could weaken overhaul legislation - especially provisions for children.

In this April 2, 2009 file photo, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., left, and the committee's ranking Republican Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa talk on Capitol Hill in Washington.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP/File

About these ads

Congress has left the building.

Four out of five committees of jurisdiction have completed work on an overhaul of the US healthcare system -- three in the House, one in the Senate. And members are back in their states and districts defending -- to sometimes-raucous town meetings -- a health plan that does not yet exist.

But the endgame for healthcare reform still turns on six bipartisan negotiators on the Senate Finance Committee -- and the army of interest groups invited in or out of the cone of silence.

Their clout is the number 60. That’s the number of votes it takes to break a filibuster in the Senate, and with members absent for health reasons, Democrats need GOP votes to get to 60. The only panel with a claim to a bipartisan strategy is Senate Finance.

The Gang of 6 has missed self-imposed deadlines since March, but is running up against a mid-September deadline that may signal the limit of how long the White House and congressional Democratic leaders are prepared to wait for the last panel to get it done.


Page:   1   |   2   |   3

Follow Stories Like This
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.