Not So Fast

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Just as Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus was heading to the mircophones yesterday to announce that “things are looking good” for  his group of six bipartisan negotiators, one of those negotiators, Wyoming Senator Mike Enzi, the top Republican on the HELP Committee, was putting out this statement:

Subject: Enzi: Deal Far From Close

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) today said no bipartisan deal on health care reform is imminent and that members of the Finance Committee still have a number of remaining issues to resolve before they will be able to reach a bipartisan agreement.

Reports in this morning’s newspapers are off the mark, and are not helpful to the process,  Enzi added.  “Bad information damages the work we are doing to improve our health care system.”

“We still have several areas where we haven’t been able to come to a consensus. No deal is at hand and substantive issues, big and small, remain under discussion and need to be resolved.  We need to keep working together.

“I will need to see complete language and a final estimate from the Congressional Budget Office before I can agree to any health care reform bill,” said Enzi, who has been deeply involved in bipartisan Finance Committee negotiations.

“I also need commitments from Senator Reid and Speaker Pelosi, as well as the Administration, that the bipartisan agreements reached in the Finance Committee will survive in a final bill that goes to the President.”

Meanwhile, on the House side, Democratic leaders touted a deal with Blue Dogs only to see their left flank balk at the $100 billion in proposed cuts.

“Waxman made a deal that is unacceptable,” said Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), one of about 10 progressives who met repeatedly with Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) on Wednesday.

“We signed a pledge to reject any plan that doesn’t include a robust public option, and this plan doesn’t have a robust public option,” he added.

The Prgressive Caucus is now looking to get 50 pledges of support against the Blue Dog deal — a move that could block the bill from the other side if changes are not made.