THE DANCE OF LEGISLATION by Eric Redman

THE DANCE OF LEGISLATION

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KIRKUS REVIEW

What does it take to get $16 million to give the urban and rural poor some medical care? In 1970, Redman was a member of Senator Warren Magnuson's staff and chief husbander through Congress of the National Health Service Corps Bill and he tells the arcane, twisted details in successful detective fashion, straight down to the voting wire. Youngest among the some 3,000 Senate aides and clerks, the 22-year-old Redman possessed a Horatio Alger disposition that saved him from the cynicism of the ""pros"" who practice the ""dance of legislation,"" that art of ritual courtship performed to ensure passage of even the littlest bill or amendment. Boredom, pettiness, favoritism, ignorance, rank-pulling, logrolling, and animus among legislators, aides, bureaucrats, White House liaisons, reporters, and lobbyists form a tale that pales any Advise and Consent surface. There are heroes, to be sure: a Seattle pediatrician, sire and godfather of the bill, and semi-heroes like Yarborough of Texas who climbs on the bill's bandwagon and Rep. Rogers of Florida who overcomes his fear of ""socialized medicine"" to defend the measure against the Surgeon General ordered against his will to testify against it. Even Nixon, who had furiously vetoed health appropriations, appears as a hero despite himself. After a scandal threatens over Presidential usurpation of power, Nixon signs the damned bill. . . with several millions more in appropriation than Magnuson asked for. A success story ably told. But Americans mourning the dearth of Congressional liberals and the whittling of Congressional prerogatives will read this more for nostalgia than possibility.

Pub Date: Aug. 13th, 1973
ISBN: 0295980230
Publisher: Simon & Schuster