Dems to bypass tradition on health compromise

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WASHINGTON (AP) — House and Senate Democrats intend to bypass the traditional format when they negotiate a final compromise on health care legislation.

The move will exclude Republicans as well as reduce their ability to delay or force politically troubling votes in both houses.

The unofficial timetable calls for final passage of the measure to remake the nation’s health care system by the time President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union Address, likely in early February.

Democratic aides said the final compromise talks would essentially be a three-way negotiation involving top Democrats in the House and Senate and the White House. That structure gives unusual latitude to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.