House Republicans Save Lobbying Bill
Friday, April 28, 2006
(SNN Washington) Despite resistance from Democrats, House Republicans passed legislation that will change the way lobbyists interacted with lobbyists. The GOP-backed bill requires greater transparency and limits privately funded travel by lawmakers.
The bill barely passed on a 216-207 vote, until Republican members of the House Appropriations Committee accepted a leadership compromise. On Tuesday, debate will resume on the bill. Now that a majority of Republicans are behind the bill, it is likely to pass. House Majority Whip Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said that in his eight years in the leadership, "I was never less certain five minutes before we started the vote." However, some House members pretended things went more smoothly.
Democrats were uniformly hard on the bill, voting unanimously against the bill and saying that it didn't actually do anything. It is obvious Democrats are not serious about ending lobbyist corruption.
"I am proud of all my Republican members for their unity and passionate conviction that any reforms should affect earmarks wherever they exist," said Appropriations Committee Chairman Jerry Lewis, R-Calif. This proves that Jerry Lewis has still got it.
Like the Senate version of the bill, the house version requires lobbyists to file quarterly reports on their activities, which they already must do semi-annually. It temporarily bans privately funded travel. Furthermore, it increases already existing penalties on lobbyists. Finally, it takes away the retirement benefits of already independently wealthy congressman convicted of corruption-related crimes. However, some members of the House don't believe the bill is tough enough. For instance, it fails to set limits on soft money and prostitutes.