Leading Members Of Congress Take Harder Lines As Recess Closes

Leading members of Congress are taking harder stands when confronted with raucous town halls, or as one Republican senator put it, "the impact of democracy in America." House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, the Finance Committee's ranking member, and Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., the minority leader, were all featured in news reports.

Associated Press/Washington Times: After previously offering room for compromise, Hoyer said at a town hall Tuesday night, "If the question is do I plan to vote for a public option with or without Republican support, the answer is yes" (9/2).

Roll Call: Grassley, one of three GOP senators negotiating with Democrats in the Finance Committee, said, "There’s a feeling that the only way to get a bipartisan agreement is to defeat a Democratic proposal in the first hand and then the Democrats will come to Republican leadership." However, he added, in an attempt to ward off reforms that would lead to a "Canadian-style single payer plan," he's continued negotiating with Sen. Max Baucus, the Finance chairman (Drucker, 9/1).

Kaiser Health News: Asked whether he remained willing to cut a deal, Grassley said, "I think that it's too early to say. If you had asked me on August 6th, I'd say, 'Yes, I think so, September.' But you're asking me on August 27th, and you've got the impact of democracy in America" (Pianin, 9/2).

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