House Leaders Pose Deadline for Kids’ Health Negotiations
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus (D-Mont.) have announced a Wednesday deadline to reach an agreement on revisions to a bill to reauthorize and expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program, CongressDaily reports.
A group of House Republicans on Tuesday met with Baucus, Hoyer, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair John Dingell (D-Mich.) and other Finance Committee members to determine if a compromise on the bill can be reached (Johnson, CongressDaily, 11/7). House Republicans participating in the meetings included Reps. Judy Biggert (Ill.), Michael Burgess (Texas), Nathan Deal (Ga.), Jeff Fortenberry (Neb.) and Rodney Frelinghuysen (N.J.) (Babington, AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 11/7).
Biggert said that as of press time, lawmakers were close to reaching a compromise. Proof-of-citizenship requirements have been the most contentious provision. The requirements are a "key factor in getting the requisite Republican support" but "also the main ... factor driving Hispanic lawmakers' worries," according to CongressDaily. In addition, Republicans attending the meetings are "gun-shy about committing their support, in part because they would be bucking their leadership and the president," CongressDaily reports.
Senate Finance Committee ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) on Tuesday said he is unsure whether the discussions will lead to a compromise. "All I can tell you is, every signal I've had from the House is that they'd like to get an agreement soon, but I don't know whether we can," Grassley said.
Hoyer said, "We want to work very seriously with our Republican colleagues to get them comfortable with a vote that may be to override the president" (CongressDaily, 11/7).