This Quiet House

This past week the House passed by voice vote the SGR patch, or “doc fix,” setting Medicare physician reimbursement rates. This means we don’t know how individual House members voted. Given the significance of the legislation, this was an unusual departure from normal floor process. It was even more unusual that no member, Republican or Democrat, motioned for a recorded vote. In other words, the first step in a two-step process was not even taken. There was zero attempt to put the votes on record.

It is too early to cite a definitive reason for such voting tactics,  but it increasingly looks like an attempt to help members avoid being “scored” by outside groups. The SGR patch did not have an offset, which means that it added to the deficit. While key-vote alerts did not go out prior to last week’s vote, it is feasible that most majority members did not want to go on record in case these groups decided to score the vote after the fact, as they did on the flood insurance bill.

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Josh Huder is a Senior Fellow at the Government Affairs Institute

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