Sen. Barrasso: Obama will try to block healthcare bill conference

by Jordan Fabian
The Hill
December 21, 2009

President Barack Obama will try to block out of desperation a House-Senate conference intended to merge the two healthcare bills, Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) said Monday.

Barrasso, a leading GOP critic of the bill, said that Obama would lean on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to accept the Senate version verbatim and then send the bill to the president to be signed into law.

“The president is so desparate to get anything passed,” Barrasso said on Fox News. “I believe him and the White House are going to try to convince Nancy Pelosi to swallow this whole Senate bill period so there is never a conference and it never comes back to the Senate.”

Asked why he thought the president would take such steps, the senator responded “So he can say, you know, mission accomplished.”
The White House has already indicated that a conference of House and Senate lawmakers would meet to reconcile the two bills, which have in some places very different language.

The House bill includes a government-run public healthcare option while the Senate bill offers a national health insurance plan provided by a nonprofit private exchange, among other differences.

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