With slightly different health bills passed by both the House and Senate, it’s now time for a conference committee, in order to reconcile the bills (unfortunately, this part doesn’t rhyme, so it didn’t make it into Schoolhouse Rock’s “How a Bill Becomes a Law.”)
But alas, the conference that should take place… won’t.
From the Washington Examiner:
Congressional Democrats, eager to complete health care legislation by the end of the month, will try to skip the step of having a committee of House and Senate members craft a compromise bill from the different versions produced by the two chambers.
Democratic leaders are close to an agreement to negotiate a compromise informally between the two chambers, thus bypassing the conference committee process that would allow Senate Republicans many opportunities to block the bill through the use of a filibuster.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has spoken with Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., about using the informal route, leadership aides confirmed to The Examiner.
Despite the President’s repeated insistence that health care proceedings would be transparent, it looks like they won’t be. C-SPAN president Brian Lamb sent Congressional leadership a letter offering his network’s services.
At the very least, it should be interesting to see what excuses are employed to defend Congress’ secrecy. “We can’t handle the opposition?” “The more the American people learn about the bill, the more they dislike it?” “We’re stomping on the republic’s values to save it?”
Senator Reid and Speaker Pelosi should be ashamed of themselves – and their caucus members should stand up for what’s right.