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Congress: A poignant acknowledgment

"Senator Edward M. Kennedy, in a poignant acknowledgment of his mortality at a critical time in the national health care debate, has privately asked the governor and legislative leaders to change the succession law to guarantee that Massachusetts will not lack a Senate vote when his seat becomes vacant," the Boston Globe reports. "In a personal, sometimes wistful letter sent Tuesday to Governor Deval L. Patrick, Senate President Therese Murray, and House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo, Kennedy asks that Patrick be given authority to appoint someone to the seat temporarily before voters choose a new senator in a special election."

Here's the letter.

Chuck Grassley, the lead Republican negotiator on the Senate Finance Committee, now wants to narrow the scope of the bill. He says the public response he's seen while traveling Iowa has convinced him you can't do major reform. "Not just on health care, but on a lot of other things Congress has done this year, people are signaling that we ought to slow up and find out where we are and don't spend so much money and don't get us so far into debt," he said in a telephone interview between stops in Iowa Falls and Ames, where he has been leading foreign diplomats on a week-long tour of the state. The Finance Committee group is still discussing a 'comprehensive' plan for extending coverage to millions of uninsured families, he said, but revisiting that approach would be 'a natural outcome of what people may be getting from the town hall meetings.'"

The Wall Street Journal outlines how a two-bill plan would work regarding a vote in the Senate.