January 03, 2010

Democrats Likely to Bypass Conference on Health Care Bill

Two senior Capitol Hill staffers tell Jonathan Cohn that House and Senate Democrats are "almost certain" to negotiate informally rather than convene a formal conference committee for the health care reform bill. "Doing so would allow Democrats to avoid a series of procedural steps -- not least among them, a series of special motions in the Senate, each requiring a vote with full debate -- that Republicans could use to stall deliberations, just as they did in November and December."

Said one staffer: "There will almost certainly be full negotiations but no formal conference. There are too many procedural hurdles to go the formal conference route in the Senate."

"Whatever form the final discussions take place, a decision to bypass conference would undoubtedly expedite the debate, clearing the way for final passage (if not signing) by the end of January. And, as long as both chambers still get their say, that's a good thing."


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