Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Democratic ethics specifics

Here are a few of the ethics provisions that will be adopted in the first 100 hours of the new Congress.

Democrats will adopt and then amend the House Rules package tomorrow to ban all travel paid for by lobbyists or organizations that employ lobbyists, require the ethics committee to pre-approve travel paid for by outside groups, enact a total gift ban, and require lawmakers to pay the market cost of flying on a corporate jet, said Democratic staffers and officials with government watchdog groups.

And, because they feel they lost the 2003 Medicare prescription drug benefit vote because GOP leaders held it open for three hours, during which they flipped opponents into the “yes” column, Democrats will include a provision in the rules to prevent any sort of repetition, said aides to incoming Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

Democrats also will eliminate the practices of changing conference reports after members have signed them and excluding elected members from conference committees.

All solid moves. Assuming they pass as described, an excellent first step toward fulfilling Democratic campaign promises.

Meanwhile, in a brilliant bit of politics, a couple of GOP members are tweaking Pelosi:

Meanwhile, GOP Reps. Tom Price (Ga.), Eric Cantor (Va.), and Patrick McHenry (N.C.) plan to introduce a resolution next week modeled on legislation that Pelosi introduced in 2004.

Pelosi’s “Minority Bill of Rights” demanded that legislation move through the committee process before reaching the House floor and urged GOP leaders to give lawmakers 24 hours to review legislation before it is considered and voted on by subcommittees or on the House floor.

While the GOP is being breathtakingly hypocritical in proposing the measure -- they never even considered Pelosi's proposal back in 2004 -- it appears to be a good bill, especially the part giving legislators time to actually read and understand what they are voting on. I'd have to look at the details, but if it's as described, it should be adopted, too -- while noting the self-serving hypocrisy of the GOP minority.

If the Dems reject the GOP bill they had better have a good reason, or else they open themselves to the same hypocrisy charge.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Pelosi's "Minority Rights Bill" is truly a good bill as you say, then here's a chance for the Democrat leadership to prove they are truly interested in doing what's right for the country and the process and not just in politics. Let's see if they do reconsider it. I doubt she will. I'm sure those Republicans think she won't----so she could call their bluff and go for it.

As far as the lobbyist changes----it's pretty sad to think Pelosi feels that legislators can be bought so easily. I'm sorry----but if I were a legislator, a lobbyist buying me lunch or even giving me a lift on one of their jets would not put me in their pockets on legislation that I didn't believe in. And how is a Congresman or woman supposed to learn all about an issue if they don't get involved with their constituents---which often come in the form of lobbyists? There is nothing inherently wrong with lobbying Congress for an issue you believe in; either individually or as a group.

So, IMHO, just like Campaign Finance Reform has proven to be a bad piece of legislation, so too will this one of Pelossi's regarding lobbyinsts.


1/03/2007 6:08 PM  

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