Nine Republicans and seven Democrats will represent the Senate on the conference committee that will iron out a final version of the pension reform bill, under an agreement reached today between Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., and Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. The agreement ends a two-week deadlock between Mr. Frist, who wanted seven Republicans and five Democrats, and Mr. Reid, who wanted six Democrats.
"This is what Sen. Reid had been pushing for all along," James Manley, a spokesman for Mr. Reid, said in an interview. "This agreement will finally allow us to get to work on pension reform." Calls to Mr. Frist's office were not returned by press time.
The Senate passed its version of the pension reform bill in November by a 97-2 vote, while the House passed its version in December by a 294-132 vote. The Senate conferees will meet with members of both the House Education and Workforce Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee to create a final version of the bill.
(updated with correction)