REPORT: “Dems 'Almost Certain' to Bypass Conference” On #HCR

This is a very bad idea: (from TNR)

According to a pair of senior Capitol Hill staffers, one from each chamber, House and Senate Democrats are “almost certain” to negotiate informally rather than convene a formal conference committee. Doing so would allow Democrats to avoid a series of procedural steps--not least among them, a series of special motions in the Senate, each requiring a vote with full debate--that Republicans could use to stall deliberations, just as they did in November and December.

“There will almost certainly be full negotiations but no formal conference,” the House staffer says. “There are too many procedural hurdles to go the formal conference route in the Senate.”

One reason Democrats expect Republicans to keep trying procedural delays is that the Republicans have signaled their intent to do so. On Christmas Eve, when the Senate passed its bill, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell memorably vowed in a floor speech that “This fight isn't over. My colleagues and I will work to stop this bill from becoming law."

“I think the Republicans have made our decision for us," the Senate staffer says. "It’s time for a little ping-pong.”

Let’s think about this for a minute. If the Democrats go this route Republicans will use it to say that the Democrats are “ramming this bill down our throats” and “bypassing normal legislative procedure.” The media will certainly echo this sentiment and the Democrats will lose out.

Like wise a ping-pong will upset a lot of progressives, who are hoping for improvements coming out of conference. If Congress gives it at least 110% effort to fix the bill in conference, then it will soften the impact a lot more than just bypassing it all together.

But if the Democrats decide to ignore the Republican threats and go to full conference then we will have a bunch more cloture votes. At the same time the media will be reporting on all these times we needed “60 votes” and that will become a reminder to the people that the whole system has been screwed up by the GOP obstructionism. Hopefully the Democrats go this route as it will play out much better for them in November.