This week both the Washington Times and the Wall Street Journal reported that there’s a good chance the Democrats will bypass a formal conference committee to hash out the differences between the House and Senate health care bills and instead, create a final bill out of the public eye and behind closed doors.Bachmann, a representative from Minnesota, asserts that the Democrats are going to keep conversations private about the reform. According to the Washington Times piece by Jennifer Haberkorn, the reasoning behind such action is to give the Senate Majority Leader and House Speaker "free rein to hammer out the final measure behind closed doors and thwart Republican efforts to stymie it." When worded like that, it sounds like a good idea. Two bills were passed but the minority party is going to want to try and put the kibosh on what, in theory, a majority of Americans want (I say this because America is a representative form of government, and so out elected officials, who represent us, have passed this legislation despite Republican attempts to derail reform). Janet Adamy and Greg Hitt from the WSJ wrote:
Since both chambers passed two different bills, negotiators must work to pass one uniform bill before it can be sent to the President for his signature. Votes in both the House and Senate were extremely tight and several issues must be reconciled before final passage including abortion, taxes, cuts to Medicare, and the public option. It appears the Democrats wish to do this outside of public scrutiny to speed up the process in hopes of getting it done and signed into law before the President makes his State of the Union speech. This is far from Mr. Obama’s pledge to keep the health care reform process open and transparent.
There would still be plenty of talks between leaders of the two chambers, just not under the conference-committee rubric. One option would be to have the House first pass an amended version of the Senate bill that includes all the compromise provisions negotiators have worked out, House and Senate aides said. The Senate would then pass the amended version as well, producing a unified bill for the president to sign.While I agree with these reporters for need for transparency, I can also see what happened previously. The legislation was written and then every armchair legislator took to the airwaves. Prime example of this is Betsy McCaughey, who had spread lie after lie against any health care reform. She was almost as bad as "birther" queen Orly Taitz, although some would disagree. These misinformers riled up America with nothing but lies to further their agenda, whatever it may have been, which was not in the best interest of America. At least the health care reform bill is progress, although not the great amount we had hoped for, but it is a start.
In my opinion, I would love to have the conference committee publicized, but at the same time, I predict that if it were, the crazies would come out full strength because they know they are loosing the battle, and it seems that the GOP has no problem embracing the fringe when conducting business, and that is the most worrisome of all - legitimizing complaints from such a small percentage of America and establishing their view as a national position. Sounds to me like the GOP is just kicking and screaming to get their way. I don't recall much of this going on during the last 8 years by the Democrats...