Read the Bills Act Coalition

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Pelosi and Reid to Circumvent the Traditional Conference Committee Process..yet another example of violating principles of transparency and accountability in the single-minded pursuit of legislative victory

From the Wall Street Journal:

Look for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to try to circumvent the traditional conference committee process by which the different versions of health care reform passed by each house will be reconciled. If so, it will be the latest example of violating principles of transparency and accountability in the single-minded pursuit of legislative victory....Conferences involving members from both houses are messy things. They are usually conducted in public and often televised, and can produce a compromise version of the bill that leaves rank-and-file members tempted to vote against the final version. That could be perilous in the case of health care since it's likely to pass without a vote to spare in the Senate and the House's version passed by only five votes....North Dakota Senator Kent Conrad, chair of the Budget Committee, has already warned that if the final bill "isn't close to the Senate bill, there will be no way to get the 60 votes here" to shut off debate and pass the final product. But many House members, led by Michigan Rep. John Conyers, are insisting on major changes in the Senate's version....Mr. Reid and Ms. Pelosi would love to come up with a way to bash heads in private and skip any public discussion that further reveals just how incoherent and unworkable both the bills are. Luckily, there is a subterfuge readily available that wouldn't require the House to swallow the Senate's bill unchanged but also ducks the traditional give-and-take of the conference committee.




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