As recess winds down, Congress readies for healthcare reform battle

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Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT)
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT)

Congress is preparing to return to Washington D.C. after an eventful August recess. Democrats and Republicans are looking to ramp up efforts at passing, or, in some cases, derailing healthcare reform.

The most difficult negotiations seem to be between six leading members of the Senate Finance Committee—most notably Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Mike Enzi (R-WY) and committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT). While Grassley and Baucus have both expressed at least a willingness to continue bipartisan discussions, recent comments made by Enzi indicate he may be opposed to negotiations of any sort. Enzi last weekend reportedly said reform "will actually make our nation's finances sicker without saving you money." White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said it was clear the senator was walking away from the negotiating table, The Washington Post reported.

Members of the House, meanwhile, are regrouping after a series of contentious town hall meetings and splits among the party caucuses. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is expected to hold meetings next week with newer Democrats in an attempt to reassure them that supporting healthcare will not cost them their seats in 2010, Politico.com reported. The nursing home community will continue to pressure lawmakers not to cut Medicare funding in the healthcare reform legislation.