[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/02/29/art.capitol.gi.jpg caption="Obama administration officials including Rahm Emanuel and Kathleen Sebelius met privately in the Capitol with Democratic senators Tuesday."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Top Obama administration officials met privately in the Capitol with Democratic senators involved in health care reform Tuesday to assess where the complicated legislation stands and what the next steps need to be to pass it.
"We had to have it," said Finance Committe Chairman Max Baucus, D-Montana, about the meeting, which lasted an hour and a half. "To compare notes with the White House so the president's chief of staff hears our concerns and hears them directly."
Baucus declined to specify the "concerns" presented at the meeting, although the legislation has been slowed by Democratic differences over policy and financing.
The meeting included the president's top aide, Rahm Emanuel and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, as well as members from the Senate Finance Committee and Senate HELP Committee. Majority Leader Harry Reid called the meeting to ensure a discussion was held with this group before Congress leaves for the July 4 recess next week, an aide explained.
As he dashed from the Capitol, Emanuel told reporters he would communicate the issues raised in the meeting to President Obama.
Other senators were upbeat about the meeting, saying they are confident a health care bill will pass.
"This was not a crunch time decision-making meeting," said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York. "It was: here is where HELP is at, here is where Finance is at, here's where the White House is at. And we're singing from the same hymnal."