Democrats Will Skip Formal Health Care Conference

Aim to prevent procedural hurdles thrown up by GOP in Senate
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 4, 2010 9:20 AM CST
Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Richard Durbin talk with reporters outside the White House in Washington, Dec. 9, 2009.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

(Newser) – Democrats are “almost certain” to avoid a formal conference to reconcile the House and Senate health care bills, senior Capitol Hill sources say, thereby robbing Senate Republicans of yet more opportunities to stall the bill. If Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi convened a formal conference, there would need to be a series of special motions in the Senate, each with full debate, which the GOP would use to delay the inevitable.

“I think the Republicans have made our decision for us,” a Senate staffer tells the New Republic, because Mitch McConnell has signaled that the GOP will throw up whatever procedural hurdles it can. “It’s time for a little ping-pong.” Ping-pong is an informal negotiation method in which the chambers send the bill back and forth until they hit a draft they agree on.

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