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Lobbying Reform

Norman Ornstein and Thomas E. Mann opined in the New York Times yesterday that Congressional Republicans should go beyond their current proposals for lobbying reform and adopt rules changes, like 15 minute time limits on all votes and credible ethics oversight, that will ensure “a return to the regular order and to a reasonable deliberative process.”

lobbying reform alone is a temporary solution. The real solution is for Congress to behave like the deliberative body it is supposed to be.

They include some tough love for the current majority and address the justifications from the right that these abuses are no different than the abuses that occurred under a Democratic majority in the 1980’s and ’90’s.

We saw similar abuses leading to similar patterns of corruption during the Democrats’ majority reign. But they were neither as widespread nor as audacious as those we have seen in the past few years. The arrogance of power that was evident in Democratic lawmakers like Jack Brooks of Texas – the 21-term Democrat who was famed for twisting the rules to get pork for his district – is now evident in a much wider range of members and leaders, who all seem to share the attitude that because they are in charge, no one can hold them accountable.

It is worth reading in full. LINK

And, just in case you think Mann and Ornstein aren’t fair and balanced, look at their credentials and you’ll see they come from both sides of the political divide. Norman Ornstein is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. Thomas E. Mann is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

Mann and Ornstein are the co-authors of the forthcoming book on Congress, The Broken Branch: How Congress is Failing America and How to Get It Back on Track, due this summer.

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