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Healthcare action delayed until fall

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/fcdfa6bc798a47e505b94dbab92a5b99/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa | License Photo

WASHINGTON, July 30 (UPI) -- Two U.S. Republican senators working with Democrats to craft a bipartisan healthcare bill said they thought a deal won't be struck before the August recess.

The announcement likely squelches hopes of either chamber acting on healthcare reform before breaking for several weeks.

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In the House, leaders announced an agreement was reached Wednesday between the fiscally conservative "Blue Dog" Democrats that would allow Energy and Commerce Committee debate to resume, but would delay a vote by the full House until the fall.

The Senate had already announced the full chamber would not get a bill until September after its Finance Committee produced a bipartisan compromise.

Republican Sens. Charles Grassley of Iowa and Michael Enzi of Wyoming told CNN Wednesday too many issues remain unresolved, making it difficult for them to agree to a deal before the August break.

"There are a lot of tough decisions to make and they aren't going to be made real quickly," Grassley said of the work by the so-called Gang of Six negotiators.

In the House, Blue Dogs sitting on the commerce committee threatened to hold up consideration of the bill unless their concerns about costs and cost containment, among other things, were addressed. Among the issues resolved were ones to lower the House bill's overall cost by $100 billion over 10 years and exempt businesses with payrolls less than $500,000 from having to provide workers health insurance.

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