Baucus Can Now Joke About Health Care

A seemingly elated Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), joked that President Obama told him he would take care of Afghanistan and Pakistan "you just pass health care" in an interview with CBS News correspondent Nancy Cordes which aired on "Washington Unplugged" on Wednesday.

"He called and said congratulations. Good going bother. Good job brother. Way to go. And I teased him a little but and said I wish you luck on Pakistan and Afghanistan," he told Cordes. "He laughed and said I will take care of that, you just pass health care."

Now that five congressional committees have each passed their own version of health care reform, the two Senate bills and three House bills now have to be melded together to form a compromise in each house of Congress. Cordes and CBS News Capitol Hill producer Jill Jackson explained to moderator Sharyl Attkisson what the bills might look like in the end and what risk there is for ear marks during the show's roundtable.

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The Finance Committee Chairman, whose committee was the last to pass legislation yesterday, seemed optimistic that a compromise could be reached between his bill and the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension bill released last summer. Baucus will join Senator Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) in the negotiating room.

"In one stance it's a little difficult," he said of melding the two plans – one of which include a co-op and one with passed with the so called public option. "In a deeper sense it is not that difficult because we are all on the same page. We all want health care reform."

He added that "to get it passed in the Senate requires sixty votes so we are going to be looking at all of the different proposals…we are going to put together a bill that on the Senate floor has a high probability of getting passed."

Watch the full roundtable discussion above.

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"Washington Unplugged" appears live on each weekday at 12:30 p.m. ET. Click here to check out previous episodes.