The Congress: For Merit's Sake

The House of Representatives last week passed the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 —the dry-as-dust title of a measure that is likely to affect the lives and fortunes of Americans for many years to come. The 298-to-125 vote was unexpectedly large, and the Kennedy Administration, after a series of bitter legislative setbacks, understandably congratulated itself on a significant victory. But the issue was in fact much harder fought than the vote indicated, and the outcome was in doubt until the final hours.

Down to Zero. What saved the bill, in the final analysis, was its merit. It is probably the...

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