Congress set to vote on ethics reform

Discussion in 'Politics' started by red states rule, Jul 30, 2007.

  1. red states rule

    red states rule Senior Member

    May 30, 2006
    Thanks Received:
    Trophy Points:
    This should be funny as hell to watch. The Dems have not "been draining the swamp" they have been filling it up

    Congress set to vote on ethics reform

    By: Chris Frates
    Jul 29, 2007 12:38 PM EST

    After weeks of private talks, House and Senate Democrats this week will take up sweeping ethics legislation that would require disclosure of lobbyist bundled campaign contributions and funding for lawmakers' pet projects.

    Critics worry the reforms will not be aggressive enough, but the agreement, if passed, would mark a significant victory for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California.

    Both promised to provide more disclosure about the relationship between lobbyists and lawmakers after a spate of scandals, mostly involving Republicans.

    Democratic leaders have not released the new proposal’s details, and that has some Senate Republicans -- and nonpartisan interest groups -- worried that its language was watered down in final closed-door negotiations.

    Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), a key player in the negotiations over the bill, expressed concern that the leadership is hoping to push it through both houses before the scheduled August recess begins Friday.

    “Once again, Sen. Reid appears to want to ram a secret bill that is several hundred pages long through the Senate without a full debate and the chance to offer amendments,” DeMint said in a statement Saturday.

    Steve Ellis, vice president of Taxpayers for Common Sense, will also be watching the measure closely.

    “There’s a lot of ways you can fiddle with this," he warned.

    "That’s going to be our concern: that there’s going to be some gamesmanship that leaves us with less than what we were promised and by the time we realize it they will have voted and left town.”

    Already, the Democratic majorities have weakened a provision that would require lobbyists to disclose how much cash they raised on behalf of candidates. Sitting lawmakers now would have to report only twice a year, rather than quarterly, how much lobbyists raised for them – and only if the amount is over $15,000 per six months, rather than $5,000 as originally planned.

    Another change: Those reports would be filed by lawmakers, not lobbyists, who had called the proposal a new burden that would be a bookkeeping nightmare for many small lobbying shops.

    The new package would also require that senators report their requested earmarks online at least 48 hours before a vote.

    If an earmark -- often used to steer pet projects to a lawmaker’s state -- is added in conference committee, any senator could request a floor vote on whether it should remain in the bill. Without 60 votes, the earmark would be stripped, a senior Democratic aide said.

    The bill would also expand the definition of earmarks to include tax and tariff benefits. The aide was unsure whether the earmarking provisions were new or had been included in the legislation that both houses passed earlier this year, but has since stalled.

    for the complete article

Share This Page