The well-sourced Carrie Budoff Brown is reporting this at Politico:
The White House is encouraging Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to cut a deal with Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), which would mean eliminating the proposed Medicare expansion in the health reform bill, according to an official close to the negotiations.
But Reid is described as so frustrated with Lieberman that he is not ready to sacrifice a key element of the health care bill, and first wants to see the Congressional Budget Office cost analysis of the Medicare buy-in. The analysis is expected early this week.
“There is a weariness and a lot of frustration that one person is holding up the will of 59 others,” the official said. “There is still too much anger and confusion at one particular senator’s reversal.”
Meanwhile, White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer is denying the report:
The report is inaccurate. The White House is not pushing Senator Reid in any direction. We are working hand in hand with the Senate Leadership to work through the various issues and pass health reform as soon as possible.
My own latest guidance from a White House official regarding all the reports that are in the air today:
This has some more chapters to go yet.
UPDATE: I’ve updated my earlier post on this subject. Reid spokesman Jim Manley says that the use of budget reconciliation–which would allow passage with only 51 votes, rather than the 60 it would take to overcome a filibuster–is not under consideration as an option for getting health reform passed. Senate Democrats plan to caucus this afternoon, and Manley says: “The focus of this afternoon is to get to 60 votes.”