Saturday, July 29, 2006

Boehner Said He Wanted Lobbying Reform. Six Months Later, Lobbyists Are "Happy," And The Odds Of Sweeping Reforms Are "Nil."

"I think we need more reforms to make sure that there's transparency in the relationship between those who lobby us and members themselves. ... I think the transparency that exists in this relationship — more of it would be helpful. Let the sun shine in, because that's the best disinfectant."

-- Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), Jan. 16, 2006, interview

"What we're headed for is at best very minimal changes in the House and Senate ethics rules. The battle for real lobbying reform will be left basically undone, and another effort is going to have to be made next year."

-- Government watchdog Fred Wertheimer, July 28, 2006, interview

"We went from people wanting to eliminate lobbying, to bans, and members taking a step back and thinking about what is realistic. I'm happy where things are right now."

-- Paul A. Miller, head of American League of Lobbyists, July 28, 2006, interview.


Soon after disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff pleaded guilty to conspiring to corrupt public officials, congressional leadership promised quick action on a variety of lobbying measures.

But that was then, and this is now. All you need to know is that the president of the lobbyists' association is "happy." Clearly, Boehner has not followed up his talk with action.

The two chambers cannot agree over a number of provisions. Enough lawmakers in the Republican-led Congress have resisted efforts to limit lobbyist-provided perks -- such as free meals and travel -- that only a watered-down version of what was originally proposed will likely see the light of day. And interest groups have (apparently successfully) pressured Congress to reject the harshest proposals.

The Washington Post reported yesterday: "The House and Senate expect to adopt their bare-bones measures soon after Congress returns from its August recess, staffers said. If each chamber passes a few new ethics rules, aides and outsiders agreed, the prospect of passing a full-scale lobbying bill this year will be nil."

Still, Republican leaders are trying to spin that they are following through on the changes Boehner promised six months ago.

"The American people want meaningful change in the way in which Congress spends their money," a statement from House GOP leaders offered this week. "House Republicans are committed to delivering this change."

Yeah, right. No wonder Democrats are increasingly calling this a "do-nothing Congress," and even some Republicans are wondering what this Congress has accomplished, if anything.


Anonymous whoop4467 said...

This ia another post that confirms to me that the Repuks are nothing but "Blowhards". They live by slogans that have no real substance like is covered in this post: "We are going to clean up Congress" which means we are going to grab all the gusto from the citizens that we can. "Clear Skies Inititive" which means they give companies carte blance permission to pollute the skies. "We want to fight them over there so we do not have to fight them over here" which means two things: 1. We can destroy their neighborhood instead of ours. 2. We really do not want to fight at all. We want everyone but the Repuks to fight our wars. You know this is true because enlistments are way below that which is needed to fight the battles we are now fighting. If the Repuks are as patriotic as their "Blowhard" rhetoric then they would enlisting by the droves. The Repuks give me the message as well as the "terrorist" that "their words speak 5000%louder than their actions".

12:09 PM  
Blogger thewaronterrible said...

Chalk up lobbying reform as yet another area where the Republican-led congress has been as impotent as a castrated monk.
What has this congress under the Bush Administration given us anyway? The much-hated Iraq War; The Patriot Act; Tax Cuts for the wealthiest two percent of Americans, The "No Child's Behind left" Education act.
Anything else?
(Click the link to hear cricket chirping sounds).
Columnist Dick Morris put things in proper perspective in a New York Post column this morning.
As put by Morris, the Republicans currently have no initiatives on health care, pension reform, social security, global climate change, gas prices "or any of the issues Americans care about.
The GOP simply has no agenda," he added.
And conservatives fret about the prospect of the Democrats taking over congress? I guess they must really hate America.

2:30 PM  

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