January 5th, 2010
10:26 PM ET
10 years ago

Obama, House Dems finalize decision to bypass formal health care conference

Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama and congressional Democratic leaders finalized a decision Tuesday to bypass a formal House and Senate conference to meld their health care bills, according to two congressional Democratic leadership sources.

The two told CNN that Obama and Democratic congressional leaders will instead hold informal negotiations to sidestep possible Republican delays of the process.

Avoiding a formal conference has long been expected, but one of the Democratic leadership sources said the president used Tuesday evening's White House meeting with Democratic congressional leaders to formally clear the idea.

To hold a formal conference, conferees - members of the House and Senate - must be appointed by both bodies with resolutions passed by the Senate and the House. Democratic leadership aides said getting those resolutions passed could delay and even derail Democratic efforts, because Republicans would be allowed to offer amendments and hold lengthy debates on the resolutions to appoint conferees.

Instead, White House, House and Senate Democratic leaders and their key committee chairmen will informally meet to find compromise between the two health care bills.

In fact, the White House, criticized by many Democrats for months for having too much of a hands-off approach to health care, has promised that the president and his aides will take a more "prominent role" in the final health care talks, according to a Democratic leadership source.

Obama aides will begin convening and coordinating initial discussions with House and Senate Democratic aides, the source said. The first will take place Wednesday at the White House.

Another Democratic leadership source said house Democratic leaders, who huddled Tuesday in the House speaker's office, will hold a follow-up meeting at the Capitol on Wednesday morning, then go to the White House on Wednesday afternoon.

House Democratic leaders returned a week early from congressional recess to start plotting strategy in resolving what House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer acknowledged Tuesday are "significant differences" between the House and Senate health care bills.

Filed under: Health care
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. Proud to be a Republican

    This is Democracy?????

    January 5, 2010 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  2. El Kababa

    There is no reason to include Conservative lawmakers in these discussions. Conservatives would only try to make the bill an expensive failure, which is what they hope it will be. Conservatives want the Obama Administration to fail and for middle class Americans to suffer. That will help them win a majority back.

    Conservatives would rather rule a bankrupt nation than help govern a prosperous one.

    January 5, 2010 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  3. Ready for 2012

    Go ahead democrates, pass this travesty of a bill. Kiss your career goodbye in 2010 or 2012. Good riddance!! It time for the republicans to take over.

    January 5, 2010 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  4. Bren

    I guess that sleazy, Chicago tactics of closed door meetings, bribes, threats, deals, etc.-–are now free game in Washington-–based on the actions of the Democrats.

    Therefore, we should hear no crying or complaints by Democrats or the media--when the Republicans use the same tactics-–once they regain power/control through the 2010 and 2012 elections.

    Our country is being turned into a third world, bannana republic--by Obama, Pelosi, Reid, Geitner, Holder, Napolitano, etc. etc. etc. etc.

    January 5, 2010 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  5. libs are funny little critters

    This is one pathetic administration. Disgraceful.

    January 5, 2010 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  6. JD

    The bullying and confiscatory taxation by the 0bama nation continues. Nevermind that the vast majority of Americans OPPOSE this monstrosity masquerading as "reform." They just want to inflict their national socialist tyranny on all Americans, rewarding the slothful and penalizing the productive.

    November 2010 and 2012 can't get here fast enough!

    January 5, 2010 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  7. m smith

    It is about time. Let's keep those repos from delaying and stalling the process. If they don't want to participate which so far they haven't then let's move on without them. We voted you in to get things done so do it. They only want to whine and complaine that they are not on c-span. They want to use that as a platform to hold up the health care. It has nothing to do with transparency and the American people only getting reelected by the dummies that buy their garbage.

    January 5, 2010 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  8. Old White Virginia Female

    This has got to be the right thing to do because you've got Cantor whining all over Twitter about the decision. I thoroughly approve and want this bill passed in whatever form is finally hammered out as quickly as possible, with hope that it will not languish in its battered state for years, but will be improved with each new election which hopefully will increase the Democrat base in both the House and Senate. It that can ever happen and we can replace those Republicans who call themselves Democrats, Congress can produce a health care system that is designed to meet the needs of the American people, not the insurance companies.

    January 5, 2010 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  9. Four and The Door

    This is exactly the Obama administration thumbing it's nose up at almost half of the American public who voted representation by Republican congressmen and officially verifying that his talk about bipartisan governance was an empty rhetoric like 90% of his campaign.

    He will certainly need to change his tune when a significant majority of Americans vote for Republicans in congress later this year. I look forward to his blamestorming speech when that all comes down. But nothing will be better for those of us outside of Washington DC than when the voters send him back to Chicago in 2012.

    January 5, 2010 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  10. mike

    Obama to US "Screw openness,transparency,and all that stuff that gets in My way."

    January 5, 2010 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  11. U.S. Common Sense


    I'm so glad that we elected a "leader" who campaigned on "transparency" and a change from "politics as usual."

    It is so sad that our leadership has to hide their "hallmark" legislation behind closed doors since it has become so unpopular by the general public. Are you afraid of losing seats in the 2010 elections???

    January 5, 2010 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  12. S.B.

    I really don't care how they do it, but they need to get it done. This has been dragged on for too long by all the Republican stall tactics. Since Republicans have no interest in honest dialogue on the subject anyhow, just let the Democrats complete work on the bill in the most expeditious way possible.

    January 5, 2010 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  13. Gary

    Yep, it's all over. I love it.

    January 5, 2010 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  14. snowdrop

    Eat your heart out, John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, John McCain, and everyone of you that keep saying NO!! Looks to me like any possibility of delaying healthcare reform debate on Capital Hill with any of your thought-provoking STALLS might just be impossible! TURN OUT YOUR LIGHTS!! YOUR PARTY IS OVER!!!!

    January 6, 2010 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  15. Ned

    The Democrats ignored the public during all of the town hall meetings, now they are short-circuiting the legislative process to avoid having debate on the issues. Truly an unfortunate decision and it will probably come back to haunt them at the 2010 elections.

    January 6, 2010 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  16. George Guadiane - Austerlitz, NY

    Leaving the "Party Of NO out of these negotiations is reasonable under the circumstances...

    Republican'ts have declared unequivocally that they will do everything they can to impede the resolution and implementation of legal changes that will take money out of the pockets of Big Insurance, Pharm , HMO and leave a little more in the pockets of working class Americans.

    Why would ANYONE intent on getting a bill resolved and signed even CONSIDER having those grandstanding self righteous, self absorbed, self promoting carpetbaggers come in to muddy things up?

    What could they possibly ADD to the negotiation?

    January 6, 2010 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  17. Anonymous

    Why start following the rules now? These are the same people who promised to be the transparent administration in history and have as of yet to show much is any of the health care talks on C-Span. Don't worry everybody Acorn, G.E., SCIU, Nancy, Harry and Barry know best and will make the decisions that we children can't understand. Yes we can....follow Obama
    right off a cliff and live in a third world country because our government has spent us into oblivion.

    January 6, 2010 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  18. Rascal

    It depends on what the definition of "transparency" is. How many promises can this guy break? All of them, I guess. What a change.

    January 6, 2010 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  19. nwcanadian

    Chris Dodd is backing out too.

    January 6, 2010 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  20. Jay

    How is this even legal?

    How can the Democrats – promising more transparency even look themselves in the mirror and take THEMSELVES seriously. You know you've gotta be off the reservation if CNN raises a question about ANYTHING this administration does? At what point do we who are not liberal, democrat or otherwise on the left end of the political spectrum have a right to be angered by this and not reflexively be ridiculed by the mainsteam media and left for it? Just wondering? This is really crossing the line and I hope that the American people are collectively paying attention before we all become collectivists.

    January 6, 2010 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  21. r.kozar

    yes, lets push more crap thru behind closed doors... you know im all for health care reform (stopping people from buying insurance at the last minute to get 40k operation, stopping insurance companies from dropping coverage you have paid 30yrs into).

    Not dictatorship mentalitity thats says you will do this and this is how it will be or we will take something from you if you like it or not.

    Is that what this country has turned into?

    funny thing is Obama, Pelosi and Reed are all just laughing at us as they turn this country into crap because nobody will do anything about it. We must all be spinless morons in there eyes.

    January 6, 2010 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  22. matthewdetroit

    Isnt it great how predictable the Democrat party is...

    Nice dirty backroom politics.

    A nice honest president that does not go through any traditional manner of passing a bill.

    Just old fashioned dirty chicago politics... Apparently barack learned a lot from Daly and is a very dirty politician.

    Good job. How do you like the weather barack... Nice and cold...another Democrat lie and farce... Global warming ... poor little polar bears... maybe they should ship them to the miami zoo...

    January 6, 2010 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  23. Michael from Ventura

    President Obama tried to be bi-partisan. If you ask me, he tried too hard. The Obstructionist right will never change. Do as I say, not as I do worked too long for them. They've held this up long enough. Just say NO to the Party of NO and get on with it!

    January 6, 2010 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  24. Brad of IL.

    Funny now that they ( the Democrats ) raise such a stink about a Republican Senator who called Obama a LAIR on TV spoke the truth . Maybe they need too censor Obama. That would be fantastic. Better than that, Impeach him like they did Bill Clinton. Wasn't that for lying.

    January 6, 2010 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  25. algriffin521

    they will regret this.

    because now one party is responsible for all the taxes, cutbacks and losses of services.

    January 6, 2010 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
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