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Tempers flare at Senate Finance

From NBC's Doug Adams
Things got a little testy this morning at the Senate Finance Committee mark-up, as the senators attempt to make their way through hundreds of amendments to Sen. Max Baucus' bill -- which in Senate lingo is called the "chairman's mark" because Baucus is the chairman.

It has been slow going, as debate dragged on for a third day, and tempers flared this morning. After more than a half hour of a nitty-gritty discussion of Medicare Advantage, Sen. Baucus lectured the Republicans that a vote against his bill is "a vote for the status quo!!" and for doing nothing. He said the allegation that millions will lose their current coverage is "a patently gross and inaccurate assumption."

Baucus lectured that "the status quo" is unacceptable when 14,000 people lose insurance every day, and rapped Republicans for not offering any comprehensive alternatives for reform.

GOP Sen. Jon Kyl took exception to the lecture, saying that Republicans oppose a "massive government takeover" -- which is what he said Baucus bill is. Instead, Kyl wants "targeted solutions." Baucus cut him off and accused him of delaying, and Kyl heatedly insisted he was not delaying or filibustering.