The chairman of the three House committees that will translate President Obama's health reform principles into legislation set a target Wednesday of having the bill on the House floor before Congress departs for its August recess, they told the president in a letter.

Here's the highlight of the letter, penned by Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) and Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller (D-Calif.):

Our intention is to bring similar legislation before our committees and to work from a harmonized approach to ensure success.
We have also agreed on a timetable for our joint efforts. In order to achieve our shared goal of enacting health reform this year, we will coordinate our committee consideration so that action on the House floor can occur before the August recess.

That proposed schedule, which House leaders previewed last week, would put the House on track with what the Senate Finance Committee and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee are shooting for. While Democrats on those panels are further along in the process than their House counterparts, the folks in the lower chamber are getting rolling this week with a whole slew of hearings.

-Jeffrey Young