WASHINGTON, Dec. 22 (UPI) -- The five U.S. senators managing floor debate on the massive healthcare reform bill list health interests among their biggest contributors, records indicate.
Sens. Max Baucus, D-Mont.; Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa; Chris Dodd, D-Conn.; Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa; and Mike Enzo, R-Wyo., all received contributions form healthcare interests, USA Today reported Tuesday.
Baucus, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and one of three Democrats managing the bill's movement on the floor, received more than $2.5 million from health-related PACs since 2005, the Center for Responsive Politics said. Healthcare interests also contributed to Grassley, the top Republican on the Finance Committee, donating more than $1.3 million to him between 2005-2009.
Jill Kozeny, Grassley's spokeswoman, said "no relationship" exists between contributions and legislation.
Baucus spokesman Tyler Matsdorf said the Montana Democrat has one goal when he works on legislation: "Do what's right for Montana and for the nation."
"Unless you're at the table, you're on the menu," said Michael Fleming, chairman of the American Academy of Family Physicians' PAC board. "We now have more visibility directly to members of Congress."
The other key players in the healthcare debate receiving health-related campaign contributions:
-- Dodd, who was temporary chair of the Senate health committee, received $210,050 this year from health-related political action committees.
-- Harkin, the new chairman of the Senate health panel, got $66,000 from healthcare PACs this year.
-- Enzo, the health committee's ranking Republican, received $27,000 from healthcare political action committees this year.