Sen. Jay Rockefeller Dumps on Baucus’ Bill and No Snowe Yet

Sep 15, 2009 3:52pm

Following up on his This Week appearance where he promised to fight on for the public option, Sen. Jay Rockefeller blasted the draft bill produced by Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus: “there is no way in its present form that I vote for it unless it changes in the amendment process by vast amounts.”

He’s not alone.  Fellow Finance Committee member Ron Wyden is livid too.  Expect a rocky mark-up next week.  As one top Democrat told me, the fundamental problem is that Democrats “are being asked to support a bipartisan bill that doesn’t have bipartisan support.”  The compromise without the cover.

Meanwhile, Republican Olympia Snowe's office just told me that the Senator is not ready to sign on to the Baucus draft. He will introduce it tomorrow without her support. But Snowe intends to keep negotiating and working with Baucus through the mark-up next week.

Majority Leader Harry Reid has scheduled a special caucus on Thursday for Democrats to discuss the Baucus bill.  Should be lively.

UPDATE: Wyden Sounds Off on Baucus Plan

As Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., chairman of the Finance Committee, prepares to discuss his "chairman's mark" Wednesday at 12 noon on Capitol Hill, Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, one of the Democrats who sits on the panel, has elaborated on his misgivings with the Baucus plan in an interview with Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus.

Wyden says the legislation would cost lower-income Americans too much and give many people too little choice of insurance plans.

"If the Baucus proposal passes," he said, "They're going to say, 'Huh? Health-care security means I pay a whole lot more than I'm paying today or I get to be exempt from it, or I pay a penalty?' They're not going to say that meets the definition of health-care security.'"

Read the full column here.

UPDATE: Rockefeller Meets Obama . . . Still Against Plan

Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., met with President Obama at the White House on Wednesday to talk privately about health-care reform.

Following the meeting, Rockefeller issued a statement, saying:  “I have made clear I cannot vote for this bill in its current form.”

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