Thursday, March 16, 2006

House Republicans Criticize Watered-Down Lobbying Overhaul

"We need to bring about bold, strong reform," House Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier (R-CA) said about pending legislation regarding stricter lobbying rules, discussed behind closed doors yesterday.

But the self-policing measure -- deemed necessary after the recent Jack Abramoff fiasco -- does not include many of the measures House Republicans discussed earlier this year, including a permanent ban on privately funded travel, ending lobbyist-paid meals, and doubling the duration of the so-called revolving door ban on members and staff to two years.

But in spite of the watered-down nature of the reform, the Los Angeles Times reports that House Republican leaders "encountered strong criticism" of the proposed measure yesterday.

Still, House Republicans are expected to come to an agreement quickly. As Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA) told the Times, the leadership warned members that the alternative would be for Democrats to propose tougher measures, which Republicans would have to accept or appear to oppose reform.

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