After courting Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Mike Enzi (R-WY) for months--making concession after concession and coming up empty, and angering Democrats who were shut out of negotiations--Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus may be preparing to make amends by undoing some of the damage he made in the name of consensus.
A new report out from Roll Call suggests the new goal is a bill that can win each of the panel's Democrats plus, perhaps, Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME).
"I think there's a view on the part of the chairman and on the part of just about everyone who was there to try and come up with a consensus that every Democrat, and perhaps Olympia Snowe, could support," after meeting with committee Democrats. "I would say, just about everyone in the room thought it's doable."
Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) opposes the bill as it stands from the left, and has said that other Democrats on the panel were infuriated by the length and failure of the process. Snowe, meanwhile, hasn't said one way or another what she'll do. Democrats were initially skeptical that she'd sign on, but a number of signs yesterday suggest that she's leaning toward supporting the bill as it moves out of committee.
If Snowe opposes the bill, Baucus can afford to lose no more than one Democrat. So consensus--or near consensus--within the party will be critical for him.