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Key House Democrats Return for Health Care Talks

The House isn’t due back in session until Jan. 12, but key Democrats will be in town this week hashing out the remaining differences between the House and Senate health care bills.House Democratic leaders and committee chairmen will be on the Hill “discussing differences in the bills and priorities for the final bill,— a senior House Democratic aide said. It remains unclear whether lawmakers will convene a formal House-Senate conference, as conversations have already been taking place by telephone.House-Senate negotiators have some key decisions to make: The House bill includes a public insurance option; the Senate bill does not. The House bill has more restrictive abortion language than the Senate bill, and each bill would implement new taxes opposed by the other chamber.Beyond health care, House Homeland Security and Intelligence chairmen are weighing what action to take in response to last month’s failed terrorist attack on a Northwest Airlines flight bound for Detroit from overseas. Intelligence Chairman Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas) last week vowed that his committee “will be taking a hard look at what could have been done better in this case and what changes to our intelligence processes may be necessary— as soon as Congress returns.

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