After delaying and delaying health care legislation, and then missing the deadline
to complete work on a bill by August recess, Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) now says
deadline for health care reform is September 15--one week after Senate returns to work.
Crucially, though, he says his committee will begin marking up legislation with or without
GOP support. In other words, it's put up or shut up time for Republicans.
Baucus may have little choice. Mid-September would leave precious little time for the bill to be merged with the Senate HELP committee's legislation, debated, and passed on the floor before October when Congress is set to pass a budget reconciliation bill. A budget reconciliation bill can't be filibustered, and Democrats have kept alive the possibility of passing reform legislation (or certain aspects of reform legislation) via reconciliation, if Republicans don't allow a vote on a stand-alone reform bill by the fall.