Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) emerged from discussions with his Finance Committee Gang of Six Tuesday evening and declared that it was time to fish or cut bait.
He gave the three Republicans and two other Democrats until 10 a.m. Wednesday morning to tell him what they thought of the framework proposal that he presented to them at the end of last week.
"Over the next week or so the Finance Committee will move forward with health reform legislation," said an unusually assertive and specific Baucus.
Baucus, the chairman of the Finance Committee, said he still had hope that he could get a bipartisan agreement.
"They liked it, but they also had ideas," Baucus said. Their concerns, he said, were "not all that difficult... It really comes down to a matter of political will."
After months of meetings, Baucus took his most aggressive stand yet. "The rubber is starting to meet the road here. We're gonna have to start fishing or cut the bait pretty soon and I made that very, very clear to the group," he said.