The Senate health care Gang of Six (Republican Senators Mike Enzi (WY), Olympia Snowe (ME), Charles Grassley (IA) and Democratic Senators Max Baucus (MT), Kent Conrad (ND) and Jeff Bingaman (NM)) promised to redouble their efforts on health care last night. Then, they promptly decided to take two weeks off:
Senate health-care negotiators agreed late Thursday to ignore the increasingly strident rhetoric from Republican and Democratic leaders and to keep working toward a bill that can win broad support from the rank-and-file in both parties, according to sources familiar with the talks.
In a conference call, the three Democratic and three Republican members of the Senate Finance Committee agreed to redouble their efforts to craft a less costly alternative to the trillion-dollar initiatives so far put forward in Congress. They discussed the possibility of also reining in the scope of their package, the sources said.
The senators rejected the idea of imposing a deadline on their negotiations, and they agreed to talk again Sept. 4 -- four days before lawmakers are scheduled to return to Washington from their August break. The consensus, one participant said, was "to take your time to get it right."
Today is August 21st. The call was held yesterday, on August 20th. If the next meeting of this group is on September 4th, that means they promised to take 15 days off, or slightly more than two weeks, before their next round of negotiations. And by negotiations, I assume they mean the next time they decide to hold a conference call about when to hold their next conference call.