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Reid Works the Health Care Bill From Home

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) spent Wednesday at home in Searchlight, Nev., devoting much of his time to telephone conversations with White House officials, Democratic Senators and key committee chairmen as he prepares for negotiations to reconcile the House and Senate health care reform bills. Reid and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), in a decision backed by the White House, have decided to forgo the traditional conference committee in favor of “ping-ponging— the legislation between the chambers. Those negotiations are likely to accelerate next week, when Reid is likely to return to Washington, D.C., and the House reconvenes from its holiday recess. Meanwhile, Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), who provided Reid with the crucial 60th Democratic vote that made approval of the Senate bill possible, told a Nebraska newspaper that President Barack Obama should have delayed the health care reform to focus on jobs and the economy. Nelson has been under fire at home for supporting the Senate’s $871 billion package. “I think it was a mistake to take health care on as opposed to continuing to spend the time on the economy,— Nelson told the Fremont Tribune. “I would have preferred not to be dealing with health care in the midst of everything else, and I think working on the economy would have been a wiser move.—

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