3. Max Baucus « The Washington Independent
Perhaps no one on Capitol Hill has played a more significant role in crafting health reform legislation this year than this moderate Montana Democrat. Although the Senate HELP Committee also passed a sweeping reform bill, Baucus’ Senate Finance Committee has jurisdiction over tax policy, plus Medicare and Medicaid, prompting health policy observers to treat the Baucus bill, from the start, as the more serious of the proposals. During the Finance markup, it was Baucus who ultimately decided which of the 564 proposed amendments would get votes and which would be swept into the bin of oblivion. And his decision to oblige Republicans by waiting almost a week after the cost estimate arrived before staging the final Finance vote left Republican critics on the panel with no room to grumble about a rushed process.