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.

Washington Post:

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.



If you're reading this, you probably already know that non-profit, independent journalism is under threat worldwide. Independent news sites are overshadowed by larger heavily funded mainstream media that inundate us with hype and noise that barely scratch the surface. We believe that our readers deserve to know the full story. Truthdig writers bravely dig beneath the headlines to give you thought-provoking, investigative reporting and analysis that tells you what’s really happening and who’s rolling up their sleeves to do something about it.

Like you, we believe a well-informed public that doesn’t have blind faith in the status quo can help change the world. Your contribution of as little as $5 monthly or $35 annually will make you a groundbreaking member and lays the foundation of our work.