July 30, 2007

Senate Ethics Bill Falls Short

The Senate has agreed on the language of its ethics bill, and the 107-page behemoth will move to the floor shortly. According to sources on Capitol Hill, the bill signals a retreat on earmark reform in several ways. Section 521 has had the following changes made since its initial adoption in January:

1. The new bill allows the Majority Leader, not the Senate parliamentarian, to unilaterally decide whether or not a bill or conference report complies with the earmark disclosure requirements. In other words, Harry Reid makes the decision whether legislation he brings to the floor complies with the new standard. How ... convenient.

2. The new bill eliminates the requirement that earmark lists be searchable. It's easier to hide in a crowd, isn't it?

3. The original version prohibited the inclusion of earmarks that benefitted its sponsor Now that prohibition has been restricted to earmarks that only benefit its sponsor -- which means that an earmark that raises the value of a member's property is OK if it raises someone else's property value, too. It makes the prohibition almost meaningless.

So much for the reform Democrats promised in 2006. They can't even deliver what they promised in January.

UPDATE & BUMP: Lots of reaction now to this news. NZ Bear has posted the text to the bill. Mark Tapscott has a chart up of the changes, and comments:

Some of my Senate sources have gotten a copy of the 107 page "ethics and earmark reform" bill crafted by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

What they are finding in it confirms what I've suspected for months - Reid and Pelosi are for the most gutting concrete earmark and ethics reform while preserving just enough of the appearance of reform to be able to claim to have fulfilled their 2006 campaign promises.

Only to those who pay no attention to the issue ....


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» The Ethics Bill from Stix Blog
It looks like the Ethics Bill by the Defeatocrats is nothing more than a sham and doesn't help get rid of the secret earmarks. So much for the Defeatocrats being more ethical. Captain Ed ad Captain's Quarters has the scoop:Senate [Read More]

Comments (10)

Posted by FedUp | July 30, 2007 12:13 PM

It'll be interesting to see how much in favor the dimocrats will be of this bill once they are no longer in the Majority - see the axiom 'what goes around, comes around.'

Too bad... they had a chance of doing something right that they could legitimately claim as a fulfilled campaign promise, but as usual, in their own inimitable fashion, they've once again managed to put their politics ahead of the People.


Posted by Carol_Herman | July 30, 2007 12:33 PM

Didn't Murtha just steal a million dollars? Earmarked in, and nothing that exists in his district can be found.

As to what Harry Ried is doing; there may be a fly in his ointment? Given that the majority he holds isn't all that strong.

Though coming up in 2008, for senators, it's gonna be a fight for their lives. Only 12 democraps need to defend their seats; while 24 republicans need to do so.

WHich, of course, means that the ticket, for the GOP, has to put someone into the nomination that can attract MAINSTREAM voters. A large majority of voters who are not defining themselves by party labels.

I can remember a post where Beldar predicted Bush would use his veto pen at least 16 times, ahead.

So, whatever Reid is doing, I'm going to guess he's trying to prevent a growing hatred for the Bonkeys to dislodge their members, come 2008.

It's the only lens I use when look\ing at Congress, now.

Anyway, we're a long way from seeing anything "pass." And, then we're an even further distance from what Bush chooses to do. I sure hope Bush can figure out that SHOULD HE USE HIS VETO PEN, the congress critters do not have 2/3rd's majority anywhere in sight, to over-ride his vetoes.

Since everything, now, is politics, those are the counter-moves. Anything less? Well, I've been disappointed in Bush, before. Doesn't mean he isnh't stubborn. And, doesn't mean he's not motivated, now.

Posted by the fly-man | July 30, 2007 1:33 PM

Captn'Ed please make sure you list the Aye votes so we can see which Conservatives are willing to listen to their constituents like yourself.

Posted by KauaiBoy | July 30, 2007 2:05 PM

It is sad enough that a collective of lawyers needs another law to guide them since they apparently have no other moral compass. This bill will result in the codification of corruption or the legalization of larceny. They can't pass a decent bill to do something of value for the American people so they pass legislation to make it easier to cover their asses. Don't vote 'em out----run 'em out of town!

Posted by dcam | July 30, 2007 2:44 PM

Where are the brave and true Republicans? They should be up in arms against this mockery by the leaders of the Culture of Corruption. If they, or the RNC had any cojones at all they would be yelling and screaming about the lack of ethics of the Democrats and their failed administration of Congress.

Another issue is immigration and "The Illegal Immigrants Welfare, Assistance and Amnesty Act of 2007" as well as the costs associated with their lack of concern about our borders.

I'd add that to their lack of support of the military and the great job they are doing, have done and will do.

Another Plank in the Democrats coffin would be moving the fine people in Club Gitmoh to homes next door to compliant Senators like Leahy, Kennedy, Clinton and Schumer. Reid can put 1 in each of his lobbyists kids home for good measure.

Posted by FedUp | July 30, 2007 3:18 PM

This practice of ramming bills through with little input from the gutless wonders that are now the remnants of the GOP is criminal.

This is not Ethics Reform, this is sleight of hand that would be worthy of any magician in the business today.

Make something up, give it a spiffy name, include enough verbiage to make it seem that we are going to get what was promised on the tidal wave of good feeling in January, then ram it up our collective noses. Can't lose. If the GOP balks, or if GW vetoes, then dirty Harry can claim that they wanted to do the right thing, but were stymied by the obstructionists. Funny, I thought that was the nickname of the Demoniac Party!

George, get out the pen!!!

Posted by Neo | July 30, 2007 5:01 PM

If this is the best the Democrats can do, then Harry Reid should resign.

Posted by Steven Donegal | July 30, 2007 6:53 PM

I'm sure that the Rs will be offer and provide significant support for substantive amendments that will greatly strengthen this weak bill. After all, it was only D intransigence in the last Congress that prevented substantive earmark reform.

Sorry, that happened in the parallel universe where Rs have principles.

Posted by Calder | July 31, 2007 12:33 AM

Can someone tell me why the strong and principled Republicans didn't pass a strong and principled bill when they had the Senate and the House and the President from 2000 - 2006 ??

Posted by eaglewings | July 31, 2007 12:17 PM

But this is typical of democrats in Congress, they pay lip service, say to patriotism or the military, while gutting our defenses, undermining our troops and giving aid and comfort to our enemies. Now when the issue really hits home to them, their slush funds and patronage items, we should expect no less from them as to eviscerate even this modest piece of semi reform.