The House Republicans, in serious trouble with public opinion as they blinked facing the "fiscal cliff" over New Year's, seem suddenly to be playing a more successful game — or rather, games — an inside game and an outside game.
The inside game can be described by the Washington phrase "regular order." What that means in ordinary American English is that you proceed according to the rules.
Bills are written in subcommittee and committee and then go to the floor. When the House and Senate pass different versions — likely when Republicans control the House and Democrats have a majority in the Senate — the two are taken to conference committee to be reconciled.
Then both houses vote on the conference committee report. If it is approved, the president can sign or veto it.
Note the lack of negotiations between the White House and congressional leaders. Speaker John Boehner decided they're useless after the failure of his grand bargain talks with Barack Obama.
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