Fox has learned that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel journeyed to the Hill this afternoon to meet w/ a group of 16 moderate Senate Dems (there are 17 in the group – but Landrieu couldn’t attend) – a group led this session by Evan Bayh.
The discussion was on health care -- a mtg that has been sked for some time.
I’m told by an attendee that Rahm offered no new details, saying he didn’t want to overshadow his boss' speech tonight. He merely sat and listened to members’ concerns, like rising deficits.
One odd moment --- Mark Begich, according to the attendee who took notes, asked about public option and where Obama stands. Rahm seemingly sidestepped the question – saying something cryptic like, “The President speaks truth to his friends and his foes but especially his friends.” Left many attendees scratching their heads.
Some asked about the idea of a trigger -- a public option kicking in at some determined point down the road if competition, choice, and cost is not improved by reform efforts. No answer from Rahm, according to the attendee.
It's unclear when a trigger will come into play, though, if at all. The trigger, according to Finance Cmte Chairman Max Baucus, who is leading bipartisan negotiations, is not really in play -- hasnt really been talked about.
Some Dem sources have told Fox that the trigger is more likely to emerge in conference, when the House and Senate get together to meld their various bills.
The moderate Senate group, at this point, according to the attendee, does NOT intend to take a collective position on health care. No expectation that that will change. No doubt Dem leadership will breathe a sigh of relief on that score.