Democrats May Skip Conference Committee to Push Pro-Abortion Health Care Bill
by Steven Ertelt
January 4, 2010
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Congressional Democrats are seriously examining the possibility of skipping the formal conference committee process in an attempt to railroad the pro-abortion health care bill through the House and Senate. Bypassing the normal process may allow them to skip procedural votes that could hold up or kill the bill.
With both chambers approving different bills — a House version doesn’t fund abortions while a Senate version does — Democrats have to create a bill that both chambers can approve and send to President Barack Obama.
Typically a formal conference committee with members from both chambers and both parties formally meet to resolve the differences.
Instead, Democrats may work informally to craft a final bill and Democratic aides tell the New Republican that is "almost certain" to happen.
There will almost certainly be full negotiations but no formal conference, the House staffer told the liberal news outlet. There are too many procedural hurdles to go the formal conference route in the Senate.
I think the Republicans have made our decision for us," the Senate staffer said. "Its time for a little ping-pong.
"Absent a stunning turn of events, it’s true," said one Senate aide. "All of the motions that we need to go into conference with the House are amendable and debatable."
Essentially, the House and Senate Democrats would negotiate informally and then one chamber would modify their legislation to suit the needs of the other chamber and work up a bill that could be approved by both.
The final bill would go to the president instead of having both chambers sign off on a formal conference committee report.
If, as observers say is likely, the Senate bill is the basis for the final legislation, then pro-life advocates will be working overtime to oppose the bill because the Senate language allows states to force taxpayers to fund abortions and could allow the Obama administration to force insurance companies to pay for abortions.
Under this non-conference committee process, observers say a final bill could be sent to Obama by the end of the month.
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