Freshman senators back Baucus on healthcare

Nine freshman Democratic senators, several from conservative states, have put their support behind the bipartisan healthcare reform negotiations being orchestrated by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max BaucusMax BaucusChina moves to lift ban on US beef Overnight Healthcare: Zika fight stalls government funding talks | Census finds big drop in uninsured | Mental health bill faces wait Glover Park Group now lobbying for Lyft MORE (D-Mont.).

While the Senate leadership, President Obama, Senate liberals and House Democrats continue to express impatience with Baucus's efforts to forge a deal with Finance Committee ranking member Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyReport: Investor visa program mainly funds wealthy areas Cotton not ruling out 2020 White House bid Ben Stein revives ‘Ferris Bueller’ role for Grassley ad MORE (R-Iowa) and other Republicans on a healthcare reform package, these freshman senators offered their backing of the process and the issues Baucus is pursuing.

"We applaud you and Sen. Grassley for your continued work and dedication toward a bipartisan effort," a letter from the freshmen to Baucus says. "We stand ready to serve and to help you and the Senate Finance Committee to craft a bill that bends the healthcare cost curve, provides affordable coverage, and rewards value-added services."

Democratic Sens. Mark BegichMark BegichTrump campaign left out of Alaska voter guide Ryan's victory trumps justice reform opponents There is great responsibility being in the minority MORE (Alaska), Michael BennetMichael BennetSenate poll raises Republican hopes in Pennsylvania, Florida Podesta floated Bill Gates, Bloomberg as possible Clinton VPs GOP Senate candidate reverses course, says he’ll vote Trump MORE (Colo.), Roland Burris (Ill.), Kay HaganKay HaganPhoto finish predicted for Trump, Clinton in North Carolina Are Senate Republicans facing an election wipeout? Clinton's lead in NC elevates Senate race MORE (N.C.), Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleyOvernight Healthcare: Top ObamaCare lobbyists reject 'public option' push | Groups sound alarm over Medicare premium hike Top ObamaCare lobbyists reject 'public option' push Liberal groups urge Schumer to reject Bayh for Banking gavel MORE (Ore.), Jeanne Shaheen Jeanne ShaheenPodesta floated Bill Gates, Bloomberg as possible Clinton VPs Obama signs 'bill of rights' for rape survivors into law Four military options for Obama in Syria MORE (N.H.), Mark UdallMark UdallColorado GOP Senate race to unseat Dem incumbent is wide open Energy issues roil race for Senate Unable to ban Internet gambling, lawmakers try for moratorium MORE (Colo.), Tom UdallTom UdallCourt ruling could be game changer for Dems in Nevada Tensions rise over judicial nominees Dem senator wants to change nomination rules amid Garland fight MORE (N.M.) and Mark WarnerMark WarnerPolicymakers face long road to financial technology regulation Liberal groups urge Schumer to reject Bayh for Banking gavel Why Yahoo's breach could turn the SEC into a cybersecurity tiger MORE (Va.) signed the letter.

Baucus has been courting the freshmen in recent weeks, hosting meetings with groups of them in his office in between his negotiating sessions with Grassley, Democratic Sens. Kent Conrad (N.D.) and Jeff Bingaman (N.M.) and Republican Sens. Mike EnziMike EnziGOP senators avoid Trump questions on rigged election Report: Feds spend billions on PR Restive GOP freshmen eye entitlement reform MORE (Wyo.), Olympia Snowe (Maine) and Grassley.

The freshman senators, like Obama and the centrist Blue Dog Democrats in the House, place special emphasis on urging Baucus to come up with policies to reduce long-term healthcare spending.

"We hear daily from our constituents about this issue; many of them are concerned that we are not doing enough to control costs. We strongly urge the Senate Finance Committee to continue to remain centered on realigning incentives to stabilize healthcare costs," the letter says.