White House not expecting to play 'ping-pong' with health bill

The White House expects the House and Senate to have a full conference of their health bills, a senior administration official said Thursday.

Nancy-Ann DeParle, the White House health care "czar," predicted that the House and Senate would work to merge their bills, rather than employing a so-called "ping-pong" tactic in which the House would vote on whatever bill the Senate crafts.

"I think we all want to get it done as soon as we can. With that said, I'll be honest: there are some things I'd like to improve and others would like to improve," DeParle said in a conference call with liberal bloggers on Thursday night, audio of which was posted by the blog Crooks and Liars.

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"I know we talk daily to our friends and colleagues in the House, who are just as anxious as we are to get this done," she added. "And I think there will be a conference. It won't be a yearlong conference because we want to get this done and there are a lot of important things on the president's agenda."

Liberals in the House have demanded a conference with the Senate on healthcare, threatening to vote against the legislation if they're forced to choke down the Senate's more centrist legislation.

That much is contingent on the Senate's ability to pass the legislation, where Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) has refused to get on-board with his party's bill, demanding changes on abortion funding and other issues.

White House Senior Adviser David Axelrod told the bloggers that the Obama administration is working with Nelson, and implored the Nebraska centrist to allow a vote on the bill.

"Whether you support the bill or don't support the bill, let us have a vote. Let the American people have a vote," Axelrod said. "My hope is that Sen. Nelson, who has always said under Republican administrations that we shouldn't use procedural maneuvers to keep bills from coming to the floor, will not allow that to happen here."