Baucus, Grassley can't agree on whether they disagree

Funny little exchange between Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max BaucusMax BaucusWyden unveils business tax proposal College endowments under scrutiny The chaotic fight for ObamaCare MORE (D-Mont.) and ranking member Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyCarter pledges probe of sex assault testimony Grassley: Carter emails contained 'sensitive' information Senators roll out changes to criminal justice bill MORE (R-Iowa) at a press conference Thursday evening on Capitol Hill.

The pair, close friends for years who've brokered many a bipartisan deal, had just emerged from an eight-plus-hours-long closed-door meeting with committee members to go over healthcare reform proposals,
such as whether to create a public plan or whether to implement a "play or pay" requirement that employers either offer health benefits or pay into a kitty for a government program.

Anyway, maybe these two were a little punchy after all that wonkery and politics when they came out to tell the media how the meeting went.

Here's the back-and-forth (you'll have to supply your own laugh track to replace the chuckling of the assembled press corps.)

Grassley: awful lot of conflict. Even Sen. Baucus and I had some conflict as well. ...

[Reporter asks what the conflict was about]

Baucus: We didn't, really. When he said that, I wondered what in the world he was thinking about. No, you know, I don't--there's no disagreement...

Grassley: Well, I don't want to answer the question if you don't want to. No, there is some philosophy difference but--would it be fair for me to say that one of them might be the public option and
the other one might be, a little bit, pay-or-play--play or pay? That'd be a couple where --

Baucus: No, no --

Grassley: Where there might be some differences between our two groups of people?

Baucus: Well, between the two sides, there's a difference, that;s true. But I don't want overemphasize that.

Grassley: Yeah.

Baucus: Because questions were asked on both sides looking towards compromise

Grassely: Oh, sure.

Baucus: Looking toward options

Grassley: And even options added in there

Baucus: Yeah.

- Jeffrey Young

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