Thursday, May 04, 2006

Lobbying Reform SNAFU

So the House has passed a bill, barely. The effort was a complete waste of time as far as I'm concerned.
The House narrowly passed a bill on Wednesday intended to restore public trust in Congress by reshaping the relationship between lawmakers and lobbyists. But Democrats denounced the measure as a sham, and 20 Republicans voted against it.

The measure, which passed 217 to 213, is the first lobbying and ethics legislation since 1995, the year after Republicans took control of the House. Republicans have been promising to pass lobbying legislation since January. But the measure proved extremely divisive, so much so that the bill nearly died last week in a Republican feud over earmarks, the pet projects that are often slipped into bills at lobbyists' behest.
The Dems got it right. Without the Earmark reform this was just evidence that the Rethugs don't want real reform.
"Our aim, our goal, is a Congress that is effective, a Congress that is ethical and a Congress that is worthy of the public trust," Mr. Dreier told colleagues on the House floor. He added: "After we pass this bill, let me tell you what is next on our agenda -— more reform. The Republican Party is the party of reform. The drive for reform never stops."
Ah, so, by half-assing this bill you intend to have more bills to call reform efforts? I've got a feeling that there won't be any more motion on Earmarks from the Rethugs. The party of "fiscal responsibility" is just as piggish as the Dems.

The worst part is most of the article relates to bickering over travel. Who the sod cares about travel? They already are required to report that travel by the present regulations, so what is gained by removing all allowances? I have no issue with Congress using declared private travel paid for by lobbyists as long as it's for appropriate fact finding and not just a posh vacation somewhere. I don't even care about meals. If you can be bought off for a meal, or 10, then you aren't going to last long in Washington.

The LATimes has this bit on what little they did add regarding Earmarks.
The House bill includes a provision aimed at reining in so-called earmarks, the increasingly controversial practice of adding requests to spending bills that solely benefit a particular project or area. The bill would require public disclosure of the sponsors of such requests.
That is just sad. I prefer the idea that an earmark would have to be added as an amendment and could be challenged by anyone. May cause more open fighting, but at least it would be honest legislation and less of this back corner stealing that has been escalating for some years.

This bit is good too:
Proponents hailed Wednesday's vote as a crucial step toward restoring public confidence in government, which one recent poll showed hovered at 22%. They accused those who voted against the bill of standing in the way of change.

The House bill would help give the public "a Congress that is more responsible and more accountable to the people it represents,'' said House Majority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio).

"A vote against this bill is a vote against reform. No way around that,'' said Rep. David Dreier (R-San Dimas), chairman of the House Rules Committee and the legislation's sponsor.
Drier is just precious. What a large steaming pile. If the reform is a half measure than it's not real reform, especially when the Dems had a better bill in the House. Jackass. As to Boehner's contention that will "help" the public, that isn't who you're trying to help. Self interest is the only thing played by this bill.

Situation Normal All ....

No comments: