Democrats in the House and Senate intend to bypass conventional procedures by negotiating the merger of the two versions of the healthcare bills behind closed doors, a move that will prevent Republicans from delaying or modifying the process, the Associated Press reports.
Typically, competing bills are settled in a conference committee made up of bipartisan members of the House and Senate. Because they do not need any support from the GOP, Democrats may draft a compromised version of the bill in a three-way negotiation involving the White House and both houses of Congress.
Republicans argued earlier this week that the maneuver would violate Democrats’ pledges of government transparency, according to The Baltimore Sun.
"Something as critical as the Democrats’ healthcare bill . . . shouldn’t be slapped together in a shady backroom deal," Michael Steel, a spokesman for House Minority Leader John Boehner, told AP.
"Skipping a real, open conference shuts out the American people and breaks one of President Obama’s signature campaign promises," he added.
If Democrats decide to conduct negotiations outside of a committee, they will have a better chance of finalizing the legislation before their new goal of the State of the Union address later this month.