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Last night the Senate brought back its lobbying and ethics reform bill from the grave, finally approving a sweeping measure that contains more than I had expected. It was looking grim yesterday, as a partisan fight had broken out the day before which threatened to kill the whole bill.
The stand-off was over a dispute between Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) on whether the Senate would take a vote on a "line-item" veto proposal desired by President Bush. Our activists and other concerned citizens then flooded the Capitol with calls demanding an immediate vote on real lobbying and ethics reform.
Throughout the afternoon and into the evening, the Senate leaders negotiated an agreement that eventually brought the bill back to life. McConnell got a promise on a later vote on a watered-down “line-item” veto bill – and we got a series of strengthening amendments. The bill:
1. Bans gifts from lobbyists and organizations the hire lobbyists (no more gifts to lawmakers, folks).
2. Prohibits organizations that employ lobbyists from arranging or paying for congressional travel, with the following exceptions:
* One day trips
* Travel paid for by 501(c)(3), subject to pre-approval by the ethics committee
* Travel paid for by universities.
3. Requires Members to pay full charter rates for flying on private corporate jets, for officially connected and campaign trips.
4. Discloses all fundraising activity, including bundling, by lobbyists.
5. Prohibits lobbyists from hosting events that "honor" members of Congress, even at party conventions.
6. Extends revolving door prohibition from one year to two – and include "lobbying activity" in that two-year cooling off period.
7. Prohibits spouses of Members of Congress from lobbying, unless they were registered lobbyists prior to the Member's election or they were a lobbyist prior to one year of marrying the Member.
8. Members cannot request earmarks that benefit the Member's immediate family.
9. Extensive earmark disclosure, for federal agencies as well as earmarks to private parties.
10. Earmarks must be posted on the Members' Web page.
11. Disclosure of stealth coalition lobbying.
12. Point of order removal for any earmarks not previously agreed to in the conference committee.
13. And, of course, quarterly, electronic reporting of lobbying activity.
Though there were two notable omissions, we expect to be able to get those provisions into the House bill (and thus in the final bill):
1. Astroturf lobbying, by a vote of 43-55. But we will take this battle to the People's House (and win there).
2. The Office of Public Integrity (or OPI) lost by an even bigger margin than last time, 27-41. But the Senate agreed to further deliberate OPI in the Homeland Security committee to coincide with work that will be done by the House study committee.
Final bill passage: 96-2.
Overall, a great victory! The votes show that Congress does listen to voters and can produce a very good bill.
Now – we work to win the rest.
There are 25 comments for this blog entry.
Google "9/11 Cancers"
It is the U.S. military, specifically the private military contractors. How often do you hear of SAIC in the same breath as 9/11 truth? Why not? Most of the 9/11 "truth" movement is manipulated to stall and distract from the real operatives/perps. Let's spell it out as simply as possible, where did 9/11 come from? The U.S. military.
9/11 was a U.S. military operation, a terror drill hidden inside war games.
911researchers.com NXNGRG's blog
Google Search: (NBB) by Morgan Reynolds
It is a huge step that many of us see needed to clear our names from the constant aspersions and lies used by agent provocateurs.
Finally those in Congress are cleaning up their act.
They still have a long way to go in order to clean up the mess that our"small shrub" has created here and in the world.
I agree with those who think Cheney and Bush should be impeached, but for whatever reason, it will never happen. Bush and Cheney both lied about WMD and the only reason we're in Iraq is because of the oil!
It angers me that he was not impeached when it was know that he lied to the American people in order to go to war in Iraq . It also is insane that even though we now know there were no weapons of mass distruction that our young men and woman are still in Iraq dying because of this mad man so him and his cronies can profit from the oil they can steal from this country,,and now he has his eyes on Iran another oil producing country.
It angers me even more to know he could leave office and collect his pension as a retired president for the rest of his life which means the tax payers would be supporting him for the rest of his life .
How wrong is that ???????
I really would like to know what deals were made that made Nancy take impeachment off the table when so many Americans want to see him and Chaney impeached and have good reason and not just an affair which Cinton was impeached for ?
Bush has no morals just take one look at the things he has done and you understand that to be true!
Take a look in the news now and you see the direct result of his administrations work in foreign policies ,,when Chivas and other leaders have banned together against this countries bullying .
I still say impeached him and Chaney and give this country back its dignity and respect it once had!
Let's not forget the clandestine way our wounded dead heroes are secreted back into the country. This abuse of power and censorship needs to be eliminated. Let the press see what horrors we are committing against our troops.
Then, we need to have a national debate about the use of depleted uraninum in projectives and equipment. Many of our men and women will come back to the USA and get cancer as a result -- not to mention the poor Iraqis who will have to live with its half-life, and it's OUR FAULT. This is not being discussed widely, and it needs to be.
Now, let's work on the President's 'findings' when he signs a bill. That assumption of legislative power needs to be reined back in from this and future presidents. As in so many things, our Prez has set some dangerous precedents -- and we need to roll them all back.
We are not a dictatorshp!