Thursday, April 27, 2006

So Much For The Ethics Reform

I guess Republicans aren't as worried about the "Culture of Corruption" campaign theme Democrats plan to run against them in November, because the House just shelved lobbying reform for the near future:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- House Republicans abruptly called off debate on a lobbying and ethics bill Thursday after it became apparent they lacked the votes to pass it. The GOP leadership called a closed-door meeting to try to persuade wayward members to support the package.

Republicans need unity to pass the legislation, aimed at reversing the spiraling reputation of Congress following several lobbying scandals, because it faces widespread Democratic opposition. Democrats say the package is weak and will do little to end abuses caused by lobbyists' influence.

Minutes into the debate Thursday, House Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier, R-Calif., announced that he was withdrawing the resolution setting the rules for debate. The announcement came after a brief conversation with Appropriations Committee Chairman Jerry Lewis, R-Calif.

Lewis and others on his committee have objected to a provision in the bill that requires greater disclosure of earmarks, or narrow pet projects, that make their way into larger appropriations, or spending, bills. Lewis argued that the earmarks provision should also apply to policy and tax bills.

''We have a weak bill that people want to make weaker,'' Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn., a leading advocate of stronger reform, said as he entered the private meeting.

Shays said his own party was ''totally clueless when it comes to the issues of reform and ethics.''

I think Shays is wrong. I don't think Republicans are "totally clueless when it comes to the issues of reform and ethics."

I think they just don't give a shit.

But if I were Dems, I would be framing that Shay's quote for every "Culture of Corruption" commercial they plan on running for the midterms over pictures of Duke Cunningham (and his "comped" hookers) , Tom Delay, Bob Ney, et al.

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