Baucus Freezing Out Democrats, Coddling Republicans?

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Roll Call is up with an interesting piece about increasing Democratic frustration with the glacial pace of Sen. Max Baucus’ bipartisan health care negotiations in the Senate Finance Committee. Interestingly, though, it seems as if one of the chief sources of irritation is a disparity in access–namely, that senior Democrats are being frozen out, while senior Republicans are completely keyed in.

[T]he level of consultation with Democrats stands in contrast with how Republican negotiators are briefing their Members. Senators said Enzi, who is the ranking member on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, briefs leaders every day on the talks. And all three of the GOP negotiators have agreed to brief the entire GOP Conference before they sign on to any deal with Baucus.

But Democrats said Baucus is unlikely to run any deal by his caucus before he shakes hands on an agreement with Republicans.

Also troubling Democrats: the growing realization among some that Baucus may simply be trying to run out the clock.

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