Every senator worth their salt is salivating for a seat at the table when Harry Reid merges the Senate’s two competing health care bills—but the vast majority will instead have their noses pressed to the glass. Reid hopes to speed things up by keeping the group small, Politico reports, with one Senate leadership source saying that it may come down to three men in a room: Reid, Max Baucus, and Chris Dodd.
“Would I be disappointed? Yes I would be disappointed,” says John Rockefeller, one of the more outspoken liberal voices on health care. But adding Rockefeller—or other notables like Olympia Snowe or current HELP chairman Tom Harkin—would upset what Reid sees as a level playing field between Dodd, championing the liberal HELP Committee bill, and Baucus, backing the conservative Finance Committee version. Other senators may be let in for some meetings, but won’t get permanent seats.