Chairman Max Baucus just warned the committee that he is prepared to work all night. I would take this more seriously if it hadn’t been for the fact that he made this announcement to four Democrats, five Republicans … and 10 empty chairs.
UPDATE: Commenter Rustyreturns asks: Who are the “missing” Senators, Karen?
It varies. Current count of empty chairs is nine, and a minute ago, it was five. A number of them seem to be running into a back room for coffee, which is perfectly understandable, but others have been gone all morning, except for when they were giving their own statements.
Worth noting that the longstanding practice on Capitol Hill is that when a Senator or Congressman leaves a hearing, an aide discreetly removes his or her nameplate from the lectern, so the absence is not so obvious (especially to the C-SPAN cameras).
There also appears to be a sizeable delegation here from the White House, including health care czar Nancy-Ann DeParle, who has been in the front row of the staff area almost since this proceeding began. The public area is full of people in expensive suits, but I’m unable to identify any of the most recognizable Big Guns from the industry and interest groups.