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Taking Their Time: Finance Committee May Delay Vote As It Awaits CBO Analysis

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Newscom

Assuming the panel successfully approves the bill by week's end, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will begin negotiations with Democratic health care leaders to marry it with a more liberal package that was advanced months ago by the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committee.

Most insiders expect the bill to pass on a heavily partisan basis. Depending on how Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) chooses to vote, Finance chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) will be able to lose one or two Democrats, but no more. Several Democrats, but most notably Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Jay Rockefeller (D-WV)--frustrated by the right-leaning nature of the bill, and upset about being shut out of the months-long negotiations process--have suggested they may not be prepared to support the legislation as is.

It would be a huge surprise, and a major upset for Democratic leaders, if the bill failed to squeak out of committee. We'll keep you posted on all developments.

About The Author

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Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at brian@talkingpointsmemo.com