President Obama and congressional Democratic leaders decided 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.
And of course, they will meet behind closed doors.
Some would call this a coup.