July 29th, 2009
01:28 PM ET
9 years ago

Top Dem aide: 'Significant policy issues' could still derail deal

 Democratic Sen. Max Baucus, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, is spearheading bipartisan health care reform negotiations in the Senate.

Democratic Sen. Max Baucus, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, is spearheading bipartisan health care reform negotiations in the Senate.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - CNN has obtained an e-mail from a top aide of Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus – a message that aims to debunk a Washington Post headline that negotiators are close to a deal.

The authenticity of the e-mail, sent to top aides to senators on the Finance Committee and obtained by CNN from a GOP source, was confirmed by a Baucus aide.

"While progress has been made in recent days, neither an accord nor an announcement is imminent," wrote Russ Sullivan, Democratic staff director for the committee. "In fact, significant policy issues remain to be discussed among the Members, and any one of these issues could preclude bipartisan agreement."

While several senators have been more upbeat about the negotiators' progress over the last 24 hours, there is also concern about managing expectations, and about backlash from senators left out of negotiations who have not been briefed on all the details of the talks.

Still, Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley told National Public Radio Wednesday morning they are "on the edge" of a deal this week.

(Read the full text of the e-mail after the jump)

Full text of the e-mail:

From: Sullivan, Russ (Finance-Dem)
Sent: Wed Jul 29 08:19:05 2009
Subject: Clarification To Post Story

Today's Post article (A1- " Senators Close to Health Accord") makes it appear that a bipartisan deal is imminent. While progress has been made in recent days, neither an accord nor an announcement is imminent. In fact, significant policy issues remain to be discussed among the Members, and any one of these issues could preclude bipartisan agreement. Members will continue their methodical work. If you have questions, please call and we will give you more information. We do not want your boss to have a misimpression based on an inaccurate headline.

Filed under: Health care • Senate
soundoff (234 Responses)
  1. GuitrDad

    So...REPUBLICAN Senator Chuck Grassley tells NPR they are "on the edge of a deal". Interesting. Very subtle way of setting an expectation among the public and then pointing blame at the Dems if it is not met.

    I just roll my eyes and smile when I see the depths that desperate politicians will stoop to these days.

    To quote Larry the Cable Guy: "Git 'r done!!!"

    July 29, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  2. Save America

    Wow,look at all the Acorn nuts on here leaving their messages in favor of this crap of a plan.

    July 29, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  3. Michael Shea

    I believe we should scrap everything that is being considered on healthcare reform and Obama should get behind a true "singlepayer plan and ram it through Congress and any "Bluedog Democrat" who votes against it will earn a well known, well-funded opponent in their respective primaries next year. If these so-called "Blue-Dogs" come together with Liberal Democrats on a issue as important as healthcare then their not real "DEMOCRATS"

    July 29, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  4. Kate in SW Fla

    The whole political process is out of whack. This is not really a democracy at all, when small numbers of elected officials have so much power. Why are there so many newley elected and inexperienced Representatives on this committee anyway? Why do we need to have 60 or more votes to move anything through the Senate? How do a handful of Senators from states that have puny little populations wind up influencing what happens everywhere? I think we should have the ability to have nationa referendums on the ballot and let the majority rule. If a health care public option was put to a direct vote, it would win an overwhelming victory. Same with some of these stupid "social issues." I say we find a way to go around these lobbyists and start getting some of these issues resolved directly by the people. Anyone know how we can do this?

    July 29, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  5. Mark Hudson

    Americans should examine the mandatory Living Will and mandatory End of Life Counseling parts of the bill before supporting it as it now is.

    July 29, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  6. Muthu

    How come GOP says America has the BEST health care system when tops the developed countries in terms of health expenditure per capita but almost at the bottom of these countries in terms of people's health, be it infant mortality, child mortality and even life expectancy at birth and disability-free life expectancy of senior citizens like me. Why millions of Americans go to India for medical treatment- medical tourism as is popularly termed-; is it because health services in India is better than the BEST we can offer here in USA.
    Yes, it is the uninsured 45 million who are vulnerable to diseaes and amenable to death and disability who pull us down in health score.

    July 29, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  7. Randolph Carter

    Actually, the end of life counseling is made available IF IT IS REQUESTED. Morons. Have a nice day!

    July 29, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  8. haren

    In mailing business we have govt. program like US postal service and
    and private like UPS, FED EX.and DHL they did not go out of business because of US postal service,
    Than how come every body believe that insurance co. will go out of business if we have gov. program.( personally I like them to go out of business)
    Folks get educated your self before you believe this Republicans thug
    getting money from insurance co. and drug co. and one sided Fox news.

    July 29, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  9. carol

    It just goes to show you the American public will "buy" into anything the cr-oked politicians sell. Behind the secenes networking is not straight.

    July 29, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  10. haren

    if our Health care system is best than why people all other western democracy is not demanding our system from their Govt.

    July 29, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  11. Sam in Houston

    Don't we already have a health care systems....it's called welfare...anyone can have it....just dont work...all the other monkeys have it.

    July 29, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  12. mjm

    I love how some people keep demanding that they have the same benefits as government employees.

    Government employees have private insurance just like everyone else who has a job.

    There are over 200 plans, everything from HMO to PPO, BCBS to United HealthCare. They pick their coverage just like the employees at Frito-Lay or any other company.
    If private insurance is good enough for them, it’s good enough for everyone.

    July 29, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  13. MCD, SF, CA

    Every American needs single-payer insurance. The vast majority of Americans want a single-payer system.

    Congress is letting the insurance companies tell them what to do.

    Everybody needs to let their reps know that we are watching this closely.

    Don't let the Insurance Companies run this country. Our health should NOT BE A FOR-PROFIT BUSINESS!

    July 29, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  14. Sam in Houston

    Here is another thought....why don't the all the dems and bo go on this health care first and see how it work then let the rest of us before offering it to the american people...

    July 29, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  15. stevegee


    It'll raise costs, taxes, and suffering. SIck? Take a number, now serving 308,984,532. Estimated wait time: YEARS!

    July 29, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  16. Tre'

    Its Bush's fault!!!!

    July 29, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  17. Lori, Houston Texas

    As Bill Kristol acknowledged last night on TDS, our veterans deserve the best health care in America. And it's called the VA.

    Funny how socialized taxpayer funded health care is good enough for our vets but not for all Americans unless you're rich and can afford private health care insurance from the Profits Before People industry.

    Let's play Let's Make A Deal... I will agree to stop fighting for a public option as soon as the paid shills in Congress give up their taxpayer funded health plans and have to buy their own.

    July 29, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  18. haren

    if anybody who miss the Billy Crystal on Daily show, and should realize how phony these republicans are when he agreed that VA health care run by govt. is best run program.
    Than why this lie that govt.run health care is disaster.

    July 29, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  19. Larry S

    Has anyone seen the politicans willing to be part of the new health care 'womderful' change???
    That should tell us all this is not what is best for us 'other' Americans.
    Do some simple thinking Americans . . . this billis terrible and most repliers to this blog do not have the facts. Even the politicans have not read the bill . . . what is wrong with the dummies in DC?????

    July 29, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  20. Mary San Francisco Ca

    You all miss the point. Democracy is dead in America. We, the people, can vote for change all we want but we will not get it until we go out into the streets. The fear machines are hard at work convincing people the insurance companies know best. This is governance by corporation and the people are just peasants. So smile politely and pay your feudal dues to corporate America. It doesn't matter if you are Republican–you never did get that abortion issue settled with Bush–or a Democrat–you will not get real healthcare. We have no power or say in what happens.

    July 29, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  21. Enlightened Voter

    Every Canadian that has ever posted on this blog regarding Canadian Health Care has praised their system, so much for the lie the GOP tells about poorly run government health care systems.

    July 29, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  22. Sharon

    Blue Dog Democrats need ot remember that Obama helped a lot of them get into office and if they continue to obstruct the programs that we voted for, then we need to keep count and vote them out of office.

    If they came to help the party of No then they should have ran Republican.

    Make no mistake, we are watching.

    July 29, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  23. Candy West Virginia

    And the republicans did what during the last 8 years regarding Health Care reform???

    July 29, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  24. Tommy

    The only way they will get agreement is if there is no public option. If no public option, we're all screwed anyway. Same old, same old... Healthcare still needs to be fixed!

    Ban all lobbyists! Every last one of them! That way, our ELECTED reps (yes, the ones WE elect, not the ones the corporations are throwing money at) can actually work for the american people. What a concept.

    Aim high!

    July 29, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  25. stevegee

    If Washington passes healthcare reform, the U.S. Congress, Supreme Court, as well as the President and White House administration should all be required to be on the new, "improved" government plan.

    July 29, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
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