In it, but not of it. TPM DC
Neither Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-NV) office nor Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus' (D-MT) office responded to queries about cutting the pay caps. But we'll know more this afternoon, when a formal conference meeting is being held with GOP negotiators in the room. Of course, all signs are pointing to an agreement that already exists after closed-door talks among Democrats stretched into the night yesterday.
"I am a negotiator, but yesterday at 2:30, [when Democrats met], I was not invited to negotiating," Sen. Chuck Grassley (IA), one of two GOPers named to join the stimulus conference, told reporters this morning. "Now, today, I am invited to negotiate. So, you know, who knows whether Republicans are going to count in this process or not."
Sen. Olympia Snowe (ME) isn't technically a conferee, but her status as one of the stimulus' three GOP centrist supporters means that she's been kept in the loop throughout the process. Snowe is also a chief sponsor of one of the more controversial executive pay measures that's on the chopping block -- Snowe's vote may not be contingent on keeping her proposal in the bill, however.
"She would obviously like to see it included," Snowe's spokesman told me, adding: "For her, a total dollar figure isn't the sticking point, as long as the provisions in the figure create jobs ... if [the pay limits] come out as a matter of the negotiations, I don't know that it's going to be a deal-breaker."