Lawmakers are facing scrutiny from constituents over the August recess, but some signal they might be ready for a deal.
The Hill: "Two highly influential senators suggested on Sunday that key provisions in their chamber's health insurance reform legislation may be in jeopardy after they return from recess. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said that he would be willing to forgo a public health insurance option in order put a final bill to a full Senate vote soon. The Senate Finance Committee's ranking member, Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), said that the Senate might be better off considering an alternative bipartisan health proposal once thought to be off the table" (Fabian, 8/9).
The Washington Times: "But Mr. Durbin acknowledged that even if the Senate passes a health care reform package without the controversial public-option provision, Democrats, who control both chambers of the Congress, still could insert the provision in a final compromise during negotiations between House and Senate versions of the bill" (Lengell, 8/10).
"Sen. Charles Grassley, the Iowan in the middle of Congress' continuing debate over health care reform, expects an earful at public meetings he has planned in Iowa this week, but not from his typical political opponents," The Des Moines Register reports. "A growing number of Republicans say they're frustrated with their party's veteran federal lawmaker and see his continuing health care talks with majority Democrats as a betrayal of his political base." Grassley is the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, and "some GOP activists back home in Iowa say Grassley does not grasp their opposition to bipartisan compromise as he prepares to run for a sixth term next year." Many "plan to turn out at Grassley's community meetings in Winterset, Afton, Panora and Adel on Wednesday." This week, "a round of radio advertising specifically aimed at Grassley from the Republican-leaning American Future Fund will begin airing" (Beaumont, 8/10).
During an interview with The Washington Post, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said "the bargain that will eventually be made is that Republicans will give in to the idea that every American should have coverage mandated, like car insurance. There's resistance to that because it runs counter to some of their doctrine. But Democrats need to understand that there won't be a public option anytime soon, if ever. Every big issue gets boiled down to one phrase. The public option in many ways has become to health care what 'amnesty' was to immigration or 'privatization' was to Social Security" (Klein, 8/9).