The Hill reports that the celebrated Gang of Six is near the end of the yellow brick road.
Democrats say the Gang of Six negotiations are all but dead and they are ready to move ahead with only Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) when the Finance Committee hits a deadline at the end of next week.
The Democrats still seem to believe they have Senator Snowe:
Without Grassley and Enzi, Democrats will focus their efforts on Snowe, hoping she can be persuaded to vote for a reform bill produced by the Finance panel later this month. Snowe was the only Republican on Finance to vote for the Democrats’ economic stimulus package earlier this year.
Obama and White House officials have focused their efforts on the Maine lawmaker, speaking to her frequently over the recess. They have been working on a side deal with her for weeks.
The Hill reports that delaying the implementation of the public plan with a trigger, will be “tricky” to get the liberal House members on board. That is likely putting a very happy face on the “tricky” part.
However, the Wall Street Journal is not acting as if Senator Snowe has made any sort of deal:
The fate of efforts to enact sweeping changes to the nation’s health-care system may come down to whether two moderate New England Republicans, Maine Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, can be brought on board.
And Senator Snowe’s Democratic House colleague tells the WSJ, Senator Snowe will have to save a divided Democratic Party:
“If you’re looking for Republicans who might compromise, the two Maine senators are definitely ones he’ll have to look to,” said Rep. Mike Michaud (D., Maine). “Democrats will not all be on same page. So he’s going to have to pick up the losses elsewhere.”