Your democracy at work

Rick Moran
This exclusive report from Jonathan Chait at the New Republic:

Now that both the House and Senate have passed health care reform bills, all Democrats have to do is work out a compromise between the two versions. And it appears they're not about to let the Republicans gum up the works again.According to a pair of senior Capitol Hill staffers, one from each chamber, House and Senate Democrats are "almost certain" to negotiate informally rather than convene a formal conference committee. 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.

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

One reason Democrats expect Republicans to keep trying procedural delays is that the Republicans have signaled their intent to do so. On Christmas Eve, when the Senate passed its bill, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell memorably vowed in a floor speech that "This fight isn't over. My colleagues and I will work to stop this bill from becoming law."

"I think the Republicans have made our decision for us," the Senate staffer says. "It's time for a little ping-pong."

"Ping pong" is a quaint Capitol Hill term for carrying revisions for a bill back and forth between the House and Senate on an informal basis rather than convening an actual conference committee where the majority and minority managers actually name members to formally negotiate a compromise.

Of course, this freezes out the Republicans and will allow the browbeating, horse trading, and bribes to go on in private.

The biggest intervention in history by government into ordinary citizen's lives will ultimately be decided behind closed doors and with no input from a party representing more than half the country.

Incredible.


This exclusive report from Jonathan Chait at the New Republic:

Now that both the House and Senate have passed health care reform bills, all Democrats have to do is work out a compromise between the two versions. And it appears they're not about to let the Republicans gum up the works again.

According to a pair of senior Capitol Hill staffers, one from each chamber, House and Senate Democrats are "almost certain" to negotiate informally rather than convene a formal conference committee. 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.

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

One reason Democrats expect Republicans to keep trying procedural delays is that the Republicans have signaled their intent to do so. On Christmas Eve, when the Senate passed its bill, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell memorably vowed in a floor speech that "This fight isn't over. My colleagues and I will work to stop this bill from becoming law."

"I think the Republicans have made our decision for us," the Senate staffer says. "It's time for a little ping-pong."

"Ping pong" is a quaint Capitol Hill term for carrying revisions for a bill back and forth between the House and Senate on an informal basis rather than convening an actual conference committee where the majority and minority managers actually name members to formally negotiate a compromise.

Of course, this freezes out the Republicans and will allow the browbeating, horse trading, and bribes to go on in private.

The biggest intervention in history by government into ordinary citizen's lives will ultimately be decided behind closed doors and with no input from a party representing more than half the country.

Incredible.