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White House To Reid: Cut A Deal With Lieberman

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Politico reported Monday afternoon that the White House is urging Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to cut a deal with Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) to pass health care reform.

The White House is encouraging Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to cut a deal with Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), which would mean eliminating the proposed Medicare expansion in the health reform bill, according to an official close to the negotiations.

But Reid is described as so frustrated with Lieberman that he is not ready to sacrifice a key element of the health care bill, and first wants to see the Congressional Budget Office cost analysis of the Medicare buy-in. The analysis is expected early this week.

The White House has denied the report. Senior communications adviser Dan Pfeiffer told Greg Sargent:

"The report is inaccurate. The White House is not pushing Senator Reid in any direction. We are working hand in hand with the Senate Leadership to work through the various issues and pass health reform as soon as possible."

Senate Democrats are holding an unusual caucus meeting at the White House on Tuesday.

Lieberman told Reid this weekend that he would vote against the reform legislation in its current form, objecting to a provision that would expand Medicare. Lieberman backed a Medicare buy-in proposal when he ran for vice president in 2000.

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