Search This Blog

Saturday, January 9, 2010


Traditionally, Congress has resolved legislative differences between the House and Senate through deliberations in a joint House-Senate conference. In recent years, however, leaders have sometimes bypassed this process by"pingponging." In the game of legislative ping-pong, one chamber passes a version of the bill, which sends it to the other, which amends it and sends it back to the first. The game goes on until both pass the same version. Talking Points Memo reports that the health bill will undergo ping-pong:
In this case, instead of creating a final conference report that both chambers would pass, principals in both chambers would agree upon a package of changes to the Senate bill that passed on Christmas eve. The House would then vote to amend the Senate bill to reflect those agreed-upon changes, pass the legislation, and send it back over to the Senate for--they hope--a final vote.

In the past, Pelosi said she wanted to conference the bills, so that House members could have a greater say over what the final bill looks like.

But aides say the new way forward is not an uncommon process, which allows the House to have similar input, while offering up other advantages as well.

"This process cuts out the Republicans," said a House Democratic aide. Republicans will "not have a motion to recommit opportunity"--a procedural trick the minority can use to scuttle legislation in the House at the last minute.