Health-care debate reporter David Herszenhorn's Tuesday story "Bypassing a Roadblock" (which is a nice pro-Democratic headline in itself) portrayed united GOP opposition to Obama-care as "more Republican stalling." (The print piece was adapted from his "Prescriptions" blog post at nytimes.com Monday evening which had a more neutral headline, "Democrats Likely to Dispense with Conference Committee .")
House Democratic leaders will meet on Tuesday to begin discussing plans to merge their version of major health care legislation with the bill adopted by the Senate on Christmas Eve. But leadership aides in both chambers say there are no plans for a formal conference committee to reconcile the two measures.
The Senate passed its bill on a party line vote, 60 to 39, and the Republican leader, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, promised that he and his caucus would do everything in their power to stop it from becoming law. "I want to assure you, this fight isn't over," Mr. McConnell said on the Senate floor as Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. prepared to call the roll. "My colleagues and I will work to stop this bill from becoming law. That is the clear will of the American people, and we are going to continue to fight on their behalf."
But the clear will of Democratic leaders in Congress is not to deal with more Republican stalling. And so rather than try to appoint a formal conference, which would require at least three steps that Republicans could filibuster, the Democrats are readying an alternate strategy.
Party leaders, including the committee chairmen who led the drafting of the legislation, will negotiate to resolve the various differences between the two bills. And then each chamber will adopt updated versions in a process known as a "ping-pong," until the House and Senate have adopted identical bills.
Herszenhorn displayed no concern over the Democratic Party's roughshod tactics, perhaps because he's been something of a cheerleader for Obama-care .
A December 21 story on the tense Senate debate over Obama-care by Herszenhorn and colleague Carl Hulse also cited "Republican stalling tactics."