Political Party Time

NRSC wants cash for healthcare roundtable tonight

About three dozen lucky donors have the chance to gather at Charlie Palmer steakhouse tonight for a "roundtable on health care issues" featuring Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Mike Enzi (R-WY), and Richard Burr (R-NC)--all of whom raise big bucks from the health care industry and sit on key health care committees.

A seat at the roundtable--only 35 available--costs a PAC $2,000, payable to the National Republican Senatorial Committee. A seat at the more exclusive dinner costs a PAC $5,000, and only 20 seats are available.

The national health care debate is at a key point, with Senate leaders hoping to complete a bill before the August recess. At the time of this posting, none of the senators' offices had returned calls requesting information about tonight's event.

Sen. Grassley's top lifetime donors include health professionals, the insurance industry, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals and nursing homes, and lobbyists. He is the ranking minority member of on the Senate Finance Committee. (We blogged here about a Grassley fundraiser hosted by an alternative health care lobbyist.) Grassley has gained fame recently for his idiosyncratic tweets, many on health care.

Sen. Enzi, who sits on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) committee, counts the pharmaceutical industry and health professionals as his top most generous lifetime donors. The HELP committee approved a health care reform bill on July 15 along party lines.

Sen. Burr's top all-time donor is the pharmaceutical industry.  He also sits on the Senate HELP committee, and voted against the health care reform bill.

Edited  at 4:14 p.m. Eastern to add: This just in from Sen. Enzi's press secretary, about the senator's attendance at the health care roundtable tonight:

Senator Enzi attends numerous NRSC events throughout the year. Since he is knowledgeable about health care, being the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee ranking member, organizers asked him to speak on that topic. He agreed. Health care is #1 on the country's agenda right now. It's important and Senator Enzi is happy to explain this issue from his point of view whether it be at the NRSC or the Lions Club in Lander, Wyoming. Either place, he would say the same thing. As for the use of any money, that's up to the NRSC.

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