Well for many of us this is what we’ve been hearing might happen. During the combining of the two health care bills (Senate & House) they may attempt to skip the conference that usually occurs to reconcile the two bills. What else could you expect from the liberals in charge after all they’ve done so far, like back room deals and closed door sessions.
This video is from the program “Focal Point” with Bryan Fischer on American Family Radio.
Lawmakers See Quick Health Bill Without Public Option
U.S. Democrats will likely drop the idea of setting up a new government-run insurance program as they try to quickly resolve differences between House and Senate health-care bills, party members in both chambers said.
Democratic leaders may also bypass a House-Senate conference, the normal route for reconciling legislation, in favor of more informal talks to wrap up in a “few weeks,” said New Jersey Representative Frank Pallone, who heads the House Energy and Commerce panel’s health subcommittee.
“I don’t think the public option survives,” Pallone told state lawmakers in Trenton yesterday. “There is nowhere near 60 votes on that.”
Democrats control 60 votes in the Senate, exactly the number needed to pass major legislation. Not all the party’s lawmakers support the idea of a new insurance program, or public option, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had to jettison it from the measure his chamber passed Dec. 24.
It’s “not likely” the public option will make the final bill, said Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Senate Democrat. While leading Democrats including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have championed the idea as a cost-saving measure, critics said it would unfairly tilt the market against private insurers such as Indianapolis-based WellPoint Inc.
“The Senate has pushed this to the limit of 60 votes,” Durbin said yesterday. “We have to be careful that whatever we change doesn’t jeopardize that 60-vote margin.”
House and Senate negotiators are already discussing how to combine the bills and may reach an agreement “by the end of the month, if we’re fortunate, or the first part of next month,” Durbin told reporters in Chicago.
One goal is to finish before President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address in late January or early February. After aiming for bipartisan votes in each chamber by August, Democrats managed to pass the House bill on Nov. 7 with one Republican’s backing. No Republicans supported the Senate plan.
Both the House and Senate would require Americans to get insurance or pay a penalty, offer expanded government aid and online purchasing exchanges to help people buy policies, and impose new requirements that insurers accept customers regardless of pre-existing conditions.
The House opted to use a surtax on the wealthiest Americans to pay for its 10-year, $1 trillion bill. Pallone said that idea will probably fail in talks with the Senate, which would partially fund its bill through a tax on high-end insurance plans. That plan that has drawn fire from labor unions.
Lawmakers will also forge some compromise that satisfies both sides of the abortion debate and prohibits the use of federal funds for the procedure, Pallone said.
“Everyone understands we can’t have federal dollars used in any way, or subsidies in any way, to pay for abortions,” said Pallone, an abortion-rights supporter.
Pelosi, of California, is scheduled to confer today with the heads of the three committees with jurisdiction over health care to discuss strategy and then plans to talk to reporters.
Later, she and Maryland Representative Steny Hoyer, the No. 2 House Democrat, will meet with Obama at the White House. Reid, of Nevada, and Durbin plan to call into that strategy session.
Durbin said yesterday he’s not “assuming a thing,” and said leaders would work hard to keep the 60 votes controlled by Senate Democrats together.
“We’ll never have another chance like this in my political lifetime,” Durbin said. “This is it.”
Meanwhile, Republicans are criticizing the closed-door nature of the talks and got some added ammunition from the C- Span network, which released a letter sent to congressional leaders that requested rights to broadcast the negotiations.
Obama promised during the 2008 presidential campaign that he would have C-Span broadcast work on the health-care bill. Instead, the big compromises have largely emerged from closed meetings between Democratic leaders and lawmakers.
Here’s a copy of the C-SPAN letter to the Democrats to televise the health care conference as Obama promised while campaigning for president.
December 30, 2009
The Honorable Nancy Pelosi The Honorable Harry Reid
Speaker Majority Leader
United States House or Representatives United States Senate
The Honorable John Boehner The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Minority Leader Minority Leader
United States House of Representatives United States Senate
Dear Speaker Pelosi:
As your respective chambers work to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate health care bills, C-SPAN requests that you open all important negotiations, including any conference committee meetings, to electronic media coverage.
The C-SPAN networks will commit the necessary resources to covering all of these sessions LIVE and in their entirety. We will also, as we willingly do each day, provide C-SPAN’s multi-camera coverage to any interested member of the Capitol Hill broadcast pool.
Since the initial introduction of the America’s Affordable Health Care Act of 2009 in the House and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in the Senate
C-SPAN has televised literally hundreds of hours of committee hearings, mark ups and floor debate on these bills for the public to see. And importantly, we have archived all of this video for future generations to study in the C-SPAN Video Archives.
President Obama, Senate and House leaders, many of your rank-and-file members, and the nation’s editorial pages have all talked about the value of transparent discussions on reforming the nation’s health care system. Now that the process moves to the critical stage of reconciliation between the Chambers, we respectfully request that you allow the public full access, through television, to legislation that will affect the lives of every single American.
We hope you will give serious consideration to this request. We are most willing to employ the latest digital technology to make the cameras, lights and microphones as unobtrusive as possible.
Please contact me if I can answer any questions.