Baucus Makes Dems Queasy on Health Care
Some think the Montana Dem is too bipartisan for comfort
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 18, 2009 9:42 AM CDT
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., left, talks with the committee's ranking Republican Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, on Capitol Hill, May 12, 2009.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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(Newser) – The Democrats’ plan to reform health care rests largely in the hands of Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, and that’s making some Democrats more than a little queasy, Politico reports. Baucus’ zeal for bipartisanship has frustrated his party more than once. He’s been enthusiastic about health care—“obsessed” according to one White House staffer—but he’s pushing for a bill that will win 60-70 votes, not a strict 51-vote reconciliation maneuver.

Some Democrats would rather have a less-popular but more ambitious bill. Bernie Sanders last month took Baucus to task, saying he should focus on “doing something real.” But Baucus has insisted on bringing Republicans and interest groups to the table, arguing that consensus will bring lasting reform. “He believes for the process to succeed, we can’t be battling it out on the airwaves, Harry and Louise-style,” said an Obama aide.