How health-care reform could pass go, skip conference committee
The expectation is that after the Senate passes its health-care reform bill, it will enter into negotiations with the House to merge the two bills. But maybe not! If the Senate passes a bill the House can live with, the House can pass it with no changes, and the bill can head right to the president's desk. That would allow health-care reform to be signed before the year's end, and protect Democrats from a replay of August during the holiday recess, or any of the endless unforeseen problems that can crop up at any time.
Will this happen? I doubt it. The House isn't likely to swallow the Senate bill with no changes. But if they could somehow work their changes out in advance, Reid could potentially add them in through a manager's amendment. That also seems unlikely, but Ryan Grim explains how it would work.
Update: Greg Sargent reports that House liberals are not amused.
December 8, 2009; 3:25 PM ET
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