Obama, Feingold Push Resolution to Implement New Senate Ethics Rules
Senators Call for Immediate Adoption of Senate-Approved Rule Changes Stalled by House Inaction
U.S. Senators Barack Obama (D-IL) and Russ Feingold (D-WI) have introduced a resolution to put into effect immediately the new ethics rules that the Senate passed earlier this year as part of lobbying reform legislation. While the Senate passed legislation containing a number of ethics reforms in March by a vote of 90-8, those reforms will not take effect until the bill goes through the conference process and is signed into law by the President. The fate of lobbying reform is very much in doubt as the House has yet to even appoint conferees. The Feingold-Obama resolution, if passed by the Senate, will put the new ethics rules in place immediately, as those rule changes do not need to be signed into law.
"The Senate congratulated itself for passing new travel and gift rules back in March, but those rules aren't yet in effect because the lobbying reform bill has stalled," said Senator Feingold. "Lobbyists can still buy meals for members, despite what the public has been led to believe. It is time for the Senate to start living by the rule changes it adopted with such fanfare three months ago."
"Let me be clear - while I don't believe the ethics reforms passed by the Senate are strong enough, they're certainly better than no reform at all," said Senator Obama. "Even if this bill doesn't become law, the Senate should adopt these modest rules to put an end to lobbyist-paid lunches and gifts and start to change the culture in Washington that led to the rise of Jack Abramoff and Duke Cunningham."
Feingold and Obama also wrote to both the Senate Majority and Democratic leaders requesting that their resolution be adopted as soon as the Senate reconvenes following the Independence Day recess. The Senators noted that the Senate can and should act immediately on the resolution since all of the rules the Senate passed in March have already received extensive committee consideration and floor debate.