Grassley, Conrad among Sunday healthcare chatter

Healthcare reform will once again dominate the Sunday shows this week, as lawmakers square off on the reform proposals that face Congress when it returns from recess.

Two of the Senate's most influential members on healthcare reform will square off on "Face the Nation": Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, and Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), a member of the Finance Committee and the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee.

ADVERTISEMENT
Conrad has led the effort for a insurance "co-op" plan as a substitute for a public option. Grassley, whose committee shares jurisdiction over healthcare, made headlines recently for suggesting that the Democrats plan might let the government "pull the plug on grandma."

The two senators will be joined by former DNC chairman and 2004 presidential candidate Howard Dean, a doctor himself and a strong proponent of a public plan.

Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), will face off on "Meet the Press". Schumer has played a key role in formulating a public option compromise palatable to Republicans and centrist Democrats. Hatch, like most Republicans, opposes any kind of public plan, though signaled his willingness this week to go "back to the bargaining table."

Chris Wallace will talk to Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on "Fox News Sunday." Ryan, ranking member of the House Budget Committee, is one of the GOP's leading policy wonks. Specter initially opposed a public option, but now says he supports a government-backed plan.

CNN's "State of the Union" will analyze both the violence and recent elections in Afghanistan with Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Lt. Gen Karl Eikenberry (Ret.), U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan.

CNN's coverage of Afghanistan will continue with Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), and Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.). The Senate trio will also sound off on healthcare reform's prospects in the upper chamber.

George Stephanopoulos will travel to Arizona to speak with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), live from the Grand Canyon, on "This Week." Besides the normal healthcare questions, McCain, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, will likely offer his thoughts on the progress in Afghanistan and Iraq.