From this article: "We're going to get agreement here," Baucus said Monday. "The group of six really wants to get to 'yes.'"
The senators involved in the negotiations are all members of the Senate Finance Committee, and include , D-Mont., the chairman, and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, the senior Republican. Others participating are Democratic Sens. Kent Conrad of North Dakota and Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico, and Republicans Snowe and Mike Enzi of Wyoming.
With 60 Democrats and 40 Republicans in the Senate, one might wonder why 3 Democrats and 3 Republicans have to be in agreement in this committee to push out a bill, especially if it might happen to be unacceptable to 76% of the American public.
As one commenter wrote to this post:
Stupid question, but why is the 50-50 when the D/R balance is 60/40? How was this committee formed? Is everyone in Congress math-challenged?
"Because we want three Republicans to come along on this, we betray what the American people want?" said Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio [pictured]. "I don't think so." . . .
"I think we have the votes to pass a strong bill," [Sen. Bernard Sanders, a Vermont Independent] said, which would include a public option for health insurance that is comparable to Medicare in its reach and cost controls. If Republicans don't agree, Sanders said, then Senate Democrats can use a strong-arm tactic called "reconciliation" to pass major elements of Obama's plan without any GOP votes.
Asked if he would like Obama to speak out more forcefully for his campaign proposals, Sanders answered: "Yeah." . . .
But in a political system dominated by Democrats, some liberals say a down-the-middle approach will give conservatives and Republicans more influence than they have earned. . . .