WASHINGTON (CNN) – A Democratic Senate chairman at the heart of Capitol Hill's delicate health-care negotiations announced Wednesday that he intends to unveil a long-awaited compromise reform bill from his committee next week.
Sen. Max Baucus of Montana , head of the Senate Finance Committee, also told reporters that he is prepared to move forward in the legislative process with or without Republican support.
"The time has come for action and we will act," Baucus told reporters.
"We have a path for moving forward. This is our moment."
The Finance Committee's "Gang of Six," a group of three Democratic and three Republican senators, has been working for months to craft bipartisan health-care legislation.
What's next in the health care fight? CNN Radio takes a look ahead
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A source close to Republican Sen. Charles Grassley tells CNN he intends to offer counter proposals to Sen. Max Baucus tomorrow morning, as the Senate Finance Committee chair requested.
What changes he will offer is still unclear. He and his aides will work on it tonight.
The source did not want to speak on the record by name discussing internal deliberations.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – A copy of the 18-page health care proposal from Sen. Max Baucus, obtained by CNN from both a Democratic and Republican source, reveals more detail about the Finance Committee chairman's proposal.
Read the plan full here (pdf)
A source close to Republican Sen. Grassley tells CNN that in addition to the problem he has with the fee on insurance companies, a concern he expressed on CNN this morning, he also does not like the overall price tag, which he thinks will be about $880 billion. The Iowa senator had been hoping for something in the $750-$780 billion ballpark.
Democratic sources tell us that Baucus will use today's 2:30 pm ET meeting to gauge whether he can get a deal with the Republicans in the so-called "Gang of Six," especially Grassley and Sen. Mike Enzi, or whether he will have to move on and schedule a Finance Committee markup without a bipartisan agreement.
Democratic sources say Baucus will likely make that decision before the president's speech tomorrow night.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, dismissed Democratic criticism Wednesday that it increasingly appears he doesn't want any health care deal at all - a key point Democrats have been making to justify the possibility of going it alone, without GOP votes.
"I've said all year that something as big and important as health care legislation should have broad-based support," Grassley told CNN. "So far, no one has developed that kind of support, either in Congress or at the White House. That doesn't mean we should quit. It means we should keep working until we can put something together that gets that widespread support."
Top Democrats close to the White House have told CNN the Obama administration is looking hard at pushing through a health-care reform bill without Republican backing.
UPDATE, 1 p.m.: Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus released a statement Wednesday saying negotiations remained on track.
"Bipartisan progress continues," said Baucus. "The Finance Committee is on track to reach a bipartisan agreement on comprehensive health care reform that can pass the Senate. Our group will be meeting tomorrow and our staffs continue to meet as well. I am confident we will continue our steady progress toward health care reform that will lower costs and provide quality, affordable coverage to all Americans."
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Senator Chuck Grassley, the lead Republican in bipartisan health care negotiations, disclosed Tuesday morning that in a private meeting with President Obama earlier this month, he personally urged the president to make clear he is not wedded to a public option.
“I told the president then that he needed to make public whether or not he could sign a bill that didn't have a public option in it," Grassley said on Radio Iowa. "He didn't have to take a position against a public option, but would he sign a bill that wouldn't have a public option in it, and I thought a statement from him would be very helpful."
Grassley and the five other bipartisan negotiators met with the president on August 6, just before leaving Washington for summer recess, to discuss their efforts towards a health care bill that can pass the Senate Finance Committee in September.
Listen: Grassley discusses his conversation with Obama on Radio Iowa
On Saturday, President Obama said “the public option, whether we have it or we don’t have it, is not the entirety of health care reform.”
Then on Sunday, on CNN’s State of The Union, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said a public option is “not an essential element.”
White House spokesman Bill Burton stuck to the administration’s contention that it has not changed its position on a public option, and he expressed doubt that Grassley’s plea to the president earlier this month had any impact on the administration’s comments this past weekend.
(CNN) - Now it's the Republicans' turn to face the health-care debate back home.
Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley held the first of four town meetings in his home state Wednesday, welcoming what he called a much larger crowd than the usual political gathering.
"We're here at a time when I sense that people are scared for our country and that's why we're having big turnouts," he said to a mostly conservative audience of about 200 people.
The outdoor gathering in Winterset, Iowa, erupted in argument a few times after some left-leaning questions, but the overall tone was more orderly than similar health-care meetings by Democratic politicians.
Grassley is one of six members of the Senate Finance Committee - three Democrats and three Republicans - negotiating the only bipartisan health-care legislation so far.
Listen: CNN's Candy Crowley reports on Grassley's town hall
The six negotiators are not considering a government-funded public health insurance option favored by President Barack Obama and Democratic leaders, but are looking at non-profit cooperatives that would negotiate collective polices for members.
Grassley warned that the months of negotiations may fail to produce a bill he can support.
"Nothing may come out of our committee," Grassley said. "It may not be something I can agree with, so I may be pushed away from the table."
He listed his conditions for a bill, saying "what we stand for is that the government is not going to take over the health-care system."
(CNN) – Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Monday he will vote against confirming Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor.
"I had hoped to be able to vote for Judge Sotomayor to be the next Justice on the Supreme Court, but after a thorough review of the hearing record and her cases, speeches and writings, I have come to the conclusion that I cannot support Judge Sotomayor’s nomination," Grassley said.
It will be the first no vote for Grassley on a Supreme Court nominee in the Iowa Republican's three-decade Senate career.
Full statement after the jump
WASHINGTON (CNN) – On Sunday, as President Obama was wrapping up a visit to France, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee - who will play a key role in the consideration of the health care legislation the administration has called a top priority - posted a few pointed comments on Twitter, aimed directly at the president.
"Pres Obama you got nerve while u sightseeing in Paris to tell us 'time to deliver' on health care. We still on skedul/even workinWKEND," wrote Chuck Grassley of Iowa.
Related: 'Time to deliver' on health care, says Obama
Later, he added: "Pres Obama while u sightseeing in Paris u said 'time to delivr on healthcare' When you are a 'hammer' u think evrything is NAIL I'm no NAIL."
The White House later said the president looked forward to working with Congress when he returned from D-Day commemoration celebrations in France.
(CNN) – As outrage over American International Group bonuses spreads and finger-pointing continues, lawmakers are trying to convince the public that it isn't their fault.
Senators and representatives are vowing to get the bonus money back, but questions have risen why didn't Congress act to prevent the bonuses in the first place?
"Well, the only lever we have in this is the fact that these corporations have come to the Congress of the United States and want a taxpayers' bailout," Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said Wednesday on CNN's "American Morning."
"If it weren't for that, we would not have any leverage on how any individual corporation is being run, and we don't pretend to have any leverage on any corporation today in the United States that's not seeking federal help," said Grassley, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee.
(CNN) – Sen. Charles Grassley is standing by his earlier comments suggesting some embattled AIG executives should "resign or commit suicide," but told CNN Tuesday he was merely speaking rhetorically.
"Of course I don't want people to commit suicide," the Iowa Republican said. "But I do want an attitude in corporate American that's similar to what they have in corporate Japan.
"[In Japan], people that run a corporation into a ground have violated their trust with the stockholders and maybe even the taxpayers - they take a very deep bow, they apologize, they are remorseful, they are contrite, they take full responsibility," he added. "We have not heard the sort of apology, remorsefulness, contrition, that we ought to hear from corporate executives in America assuming full responsibility."
Grassley's initial comments came Monday afternoon during an interview with Iowa radio station WMT. During the interview, Grassley endorsed what he viewed as Japan's corporate model, saying it is customary for failed executives to either relinquish their posts or commit suicide in disgrace.
"In the case of the Japanese, they usually commit suicide before they make any apology," he said during that interview.
A spokesman for AIG called Grassley's initial comments "very disappointing."