Mar 21, 2018

ICYMI: WSJ: A GOP Right-To-Try Fumble

Post by Freedom Partners

Editorial Board  |  Wall Street Journal

President Trump has never been accused of being a policy wonk, but now and then he fixates on a good idea, and one has been the “right to try” experimental drug therapies still seeking approval by the Food and Drug Administration. The question is why a GOP Congress is bungling this ostensible White House priority.

Last week a “right to try” bill failed 259-140 in the House, which tried to pass the measure on a suspension procedure that requires a two-thirds majority.

The House may try to pass the bill again with a simple majority, but the failure is the result of several months of political malpractice. The Senate passed a right-to-try bill last August. Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson’s proposal had 46 co-sponsors, including two Democrats, and passed by unanimous consent. The old joke is that bills go to the Senate to die but here the House is the graveyard thanks to Energy and Commerce Chairman Greg Walden.

Remarkably, right-to-try could die. The House may include its version in the omnibus spending bill, but Democrats will demand changes that may weaken it to the point of futility. If the House passes the Walden bill separately, the legislation would have to clear the Senate—again. One Senator could hold up the bill, which is probable now that right-to-try has attracted opposition from House Democrats. The solution is obvious: The House should pass the Johnson bill and send it to Mr. Trump, who by all accounts is waiting to sign it.