Baucus Moves Forward
As shitty as the Baucus bill is, we do need him to report it out of committee, to move along the process. His committee has been holding things up for months. So it's a major step in the fight for a bill that he'll start marking up the week of September 20.
Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) told a Democrats-only meeting of his committee Wednesday that he plans to begin marking up a health care reform bill the week of Sept. 20, with or without a bipartisan deal in place.
According to a source with knowledge of the situation, Baucus informed his Democratic Finance colleagues that he would move forward next week regardless of whether the gang of six bipartisan Finance negotiators brokers a deal.
A Democratic Senate source said Baucus would lay down the mark on Tuesday, the Sept. 15 deadline the chairman set for a deal with the gang on a bipartisan plan. This source said that as of now no Republicans are on board with the framework for reform that Baucus has proposed.
“He [made] clear in the meeting that this is the time for action and time to move forward to get a bill done by the end of the year,” the source said.
Better, Baucus signaled his intent to move forward regardless of whether Republicans sign on. So the Gang of Six is basically dead, and the move from the Senate appears to be to deliver something that Olympia Snowe can hopefully support, removing from them the need to go the reconciliation route. That probably means no public option and maybe a trigger, at least for the time being.
It's good that Baucus has given us time to see his framework and whip up opposition to its most egregious provisions. As for the public option, that really is going to depend on Presidential leadership, IMO.