In the past, Pelosi said she wanted to conference the bills, so that House members could have a greater say over what the final bill looks like.
But aides say the new way forward is not an uncommon process, which allows the House to have similar input, while offering up other advantages as well.
"This process cuts out the Republicans," said a House Democratic aide. Republicans will "not have a motion to recommit opportunity"--a procedural trick the minority can use to scuttle legislation in the House at the last minute.
Just what the House will demand in exchange for some of the major concessions it will have to accept--most notably the public option--have yet to be finalized, but should become more clear in the hours and days ahead. Under discussion going into holiday recess were fairly major issues, such as whether the exchanges would be organized at the national level (as in the House bill) or at the state level (as in the Senate bill), and whether to adopt the House's earlier implementation date.
House members will huddle in a caucus conference call later this week to sort out their priorities.
"This week is important in terms of finding out where House members are," the aide said.