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Unanimous Consent Request --S. Res. 123

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

UNANIMOUS-CONSENT REQUEST--S. RES. 123 -- (Senate - April 17, 2007)

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Mr. COBURN. Mr. President, I appreciate the opportunity to speak on this issue. It is very interesting. The American people should hear what has just gone on here.

What we have heard is rhetoric without responsibility. There is no question that by moving, as Senator DeMint has, we finally got the Appropriations Committee to endorse what was passed in the ethics legislation. However, after the ethics legislation was passed, I spoke on the floor. I was the last person to speak on the floor late that evening. I made the statement--and it is now proving to be true--that it was ethics reform in name only, no substance.

We now hear an argument that says: We should not pass the most significant portion of the ethics bill in a stand-alone process so that we can, in fact, do what the American people want, which is transparency in this Government.

It is interesting, if you know how this place operates, that if in fact you have an earmark reform on appropriations only, and no earmark reform on an authorization, you have no earmark reform because once something is authorized in an authorizing bill through an earmark, it no longer will apply to the appropriations bill. So we will have the same thing going on. The reason we are seeing an objection to earmark reform is because we truly, in the majority of cases, don't want earmark reform. What we are doing is, we are doing it--talk about piecemeal--only in one area. What we will do is, there won't be an earmark on an appropriations bill. What we will do is authorize them now. Since we won't apply the earmark rule to authorization bills, the American public will once again be hoodwinked. They won't know whose financial interest it is nor who it will benefit.

The problem with ethics in Washington isn't the lobbyists, isn't the campaign contributions, it is the Members of Congress. Until that changes, until the American people demand accountability--what we just heard was a flimsy excuse for not accepting this into the rules of the Senate. We voted on it. The American people deserve it. It is a sham.

I again ask unanimous consent that the Rules Committee be discharged from further consideration, and the Senate now proceed to S. 123; further that the resolution be agreed to and the motion to reconsider be laid upon the table.

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