Move Along… There’s No Reform to See Here…
Posted on Jul 28, 2006
After promising fast action on lobbying reform in the wake of numerous scandals, the Senate and the House have proved unable to put together a reform bill that both can live with—so instead they’ve made plans to adopt vastly scaled-back versions.
No wonder: USA Today reports that our Congress is on track to spending fewer days in session than the infamous 1948 “Do Nothing” Congress.
Unable to agree on major lobbying and ethics legislation, Senate and House leaders have made plans to adopt vastly scaled-back versions of the measures as part of their rules so that lawmakers can claim that they responded to recent congressional scandals.
Congress promised fast action on lobbying reforms in January, but the two chambers cannot agree over a number of provisions, including one in the House bill that would rein in independent organizations that have spent millions of dollars, mostly on behalf of Democrats, to sway federal elections. House Republicans are insisting that the groups, nicknamed 527s, be curtailed, but Democratic senators and a handful of Senate Republicans have vowed to oppose the change as part of the lobbying bill.
As a result, Congress may adjourn this year without agreeing on legislation to tighten restrictions on lobbyists’ dealings with lawmakers. The House has not yet named negotiators to work with the Senate to devise a compromise package, even though its bill passed May 3. “It’s on life support,” Jan W. Baran, a leading Republican ethics lawyer, said of the final bill.