Grassley signals healthcare deal not nearing

The Senate isn't close to reaching a bipartisan package on healthcare reform, Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said Tuesday.

Disputing reports that a deal on a healthcare bill was close, Grassley, the lead Republican on healthcare reform in the Senate, said there was still quite a bit to be done.

"There is no agreement because it's just within the last 10 days that, at the staff level...that there's been any discussion," Grassley said during an interview on Fox News. "So if you're talking about a bipartisan deal, not yet."

Among other obstacles, Grassley said it would take time for him to confer with Republicans and for Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) to meet with Democrats before a deal could be reached.

Grassley also said that big issues like the inclusion of a public option, funding, and mandates still are yet to be resolved -- big sticking points between the parties.

The Iowa lawmaker also said that President Obama's involvement would be key to making a deal.