Two centrist Democrats at the center of the Senate's tense healthcare reform negotiations insisted that there has been no compromise deal on the legislation despite Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-Nev.) pronouncements.
"There’s no specific compromise. There were discussions," Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) said at a press conference Wednesday.
Reid announced Monday night that a working group of five liberal Democrats and give centrist Democrats had reached a "broad agreement" on how to bridge an intraparty divide on healthcare reform -- and particularly on whether to create a government-run public option insurance program. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is currently scoring the new provisions to determine their costs.
According to Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), sending the bill to the CBO was about all the 10 senators agree to do. "We got to a point where we couldn’t go any further until we got scores," she said. "There are a lot of things on the table still and until, you know, we hear back from CBO it’s going to be hard to see whatever I can support, for sure."
Indeed, Landrieu said, "Until the package that was sent [is] scored, we don’t know what’s in it."
These cautious appraisals from centrist Democrats mirror the reaction of liberal Democratic Sen. Russell Feingold (Wis.). Asked on Wednesday whether he could support the package before the CBO, Feingold said, "I don't know yet. I have concerns myself still about some aspects of it, and, you know, I'm interested in seeing what the Congressional Budget Office numbers are."