My First Markup

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Hi Swamplanders. I’m staff writer Kate Pickert and I’ve been covering the health care reform debate for I’m joining the Swampland crew for a few days this week to help Jay Newton-Small and Karen Tumulty cover the Senate Finance Committee markup of Chairman Max Baucus’s health reform bill. Here in the Hart Senate Office Building, the hearing room is filled up with committee members, staff, journalists, lobbyists and other observers. A new version of the bill was distributed a few minutes ago, along with a revised list of amendments, but we’ll be listening to opening statements before the Senators get to any of that. Baucus opened the hearing by saying what lawmakers do here “will determine whether we are courageous and skillful enough” to reform the health care system, saying his bill was “a balanced package.” Ranking Member Chuck Grassley then thanked Baucus for his efforts toward bipartisanship, but said, “I have a feeling that the White House and the leaderhip on your side grew impatient” and rushed the process.

So tell me commenters – what should I be watching for today?