The Corner

Deroy Murdock On Medicare

Deroy’s last two columns for NRO have been dedicated to lauding the Republicans who voted against the Medicare bill. I have one minor and one, well, slightly less minor objection. The minor objection is that it’s silly to act as though holding a vote open for a long time is an act of lawbreaking. Votes in the House are routinely held open for longer than the fifteen-minute minimum, and that’s the only way to pass worthy bills as well as unworthy ones. The second objection is that if merely voting against the Medicare bill makes one a free-market hero, then shouldn’t the Democrats be on Deroy’s honor roll too? It’s not true that every Republican who voted against the Medicare bill did so because they prefer less government. Some of them were siding with the Democrats, who wanted an entitlement expansion twice as large. I assume that was why Sen. Lincoln Chafee voted against the bill. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson was mad that the Republican leadership had neutered her amendment to allow reimportation of drugs from Canada. (That’s probably also why Gil Gutknecht, Emerson’s co-sponsor, voted against it.) The arguments I heard Dan Burton making on the floor Friday night were not exclusively conservative ones, either.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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