Tuesday in the Finance Committee Markup

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It’s easy to get in the wonk weeds with health care, so here are a few quick and easy highlights from the first day of the Senate Finance Committee markup that ended around 10 p.m.

Key quote of the day: “You’ve got to help us get out of this box.” – Chairman Max Baucus to CBO Director Doug Elmendorf, after the director predicted a formal assessment of the committee’s final bill would take up to two weeks.

Lost in translation moment of the day: Democrats insist the financial punishment for Americans who don’t get health insurance is a “penalty.” Republicans, and the Baucus bill itself, call it a “tax.” Orin Hatch went so far as to say it might be unconstitutional and asked for a formal ruling from the Congressional Research Service. Baucus says it’s constitutional.

Tweet of the day: Wake up Jim Bunning! Markup of healthcare reform bill is too important for catnapping! http://tinyurl.com/myo3cy - several observers noted this incident, but this tweet is from Daniel Mongiardo, the lieutenant governor of Kentucky who will be running for Bunning’s seat in 2010.

What’s on deck: More amendments. Wednesday will likely be spent discussing and debating more of the hundreds of Democratic and Republican proposed changes to the Baucus bill. Also likely – another long day.