Obama, Democrats Meeting Wednesday To Start Making Final Health Reform Decisions
Democrats hope an upcoming meeting with President Obama will help "narrow the differences" between the House and Senate bills, The Associated Press reports. "Obama was to meet Wednesday with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and other Democratic leaders to discuss the massive legislation. The House returned from its year-end break on Tuesday, and Democrats met immediately to get an update from their leaders."
Obama is taking an active role in crafting the final version of the bill "after letting Congress provide most of the legislation's details last year," the AP reports. "His more forceful role underscores the White House desire for Obama to sign a bill before he delivers his State of the Union address, perhaps early next month" (Fram, 1/13).
The Hill: "House Democrats have opted to send five of their biggest guns to the health care negotiating table to iron out a deal with the Senate, according to a House leadership aide. No Republicans are expected to attend the closed-door meetings." Pelosi's choices on who to bring to the negotiations are "telling" in how Pelosi wants to proceed. "With conventional wisdom suggesting that vast portions of the House bill will be replaced by those in the Senate bill, Pelosi will need not only strong voices at the table with her, but sound counsel to ensure she can corral 218 votes on whatever ends up in the conference measure" (Allen and Young, 1/12).
The Hill, in a separate story: "Congressional Democrats face 'serious problems' in getting a healthcare reform bill to the president's desk, according to a House panel chairman." The article also notes that "[f]ew of the many issues dividing the House and Senate remain resolved, and many House Democrats feel as though they are continuing to lose ground to the upper chamber" (Allen and Young, 1/12).