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Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz Supports Move Bringing "Honest Leadership and Open Government" to Washington

Location: Washington, DC

Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz Supports Move Bringing "Honest Leadership and Open Government" to Washington

Democrats unveil aggressive reform package to protect public trust

January 19, 2006

(Washington, DC) -- "Republican-controlled Washington has become infected with a Culture of Corruption, and the American people are the ones footing the bill," said Rep. Wasserman Schultz. "While Republicans reward millionaires and special interests, the priorities of the American people go unaddressed. That is why Democrats are offering real reforms to clean up Washington."

Yesterday, Democrats unveiled the "Honest Leadership, Open Government" Act in the historic Great Hall at the Library of Congress, where Members of Congress were joined by an audience of groups working to protect the public trust and force Congress to focus on the priorities of the American people.

The Honest Leadership and Open Government Act will focus reforms on four key areas:

* It will increase accountability in government, and allow the public to see exactly what their elected representatives are doing in Washington.
* It will close the revolving door between government and K Street lobbying firms by strengthening the ban on lobbying by former Members of Congress and senior government officials after they leave to work in the private sector.
* It will fix the gift and travel rules that allowed the Jack Abramoffs of the world to spend tens of thousands of dollars to buy influence in Congress. These changes will ensure that legislation will never again be written in smoky back rooms by industry lobbyists.
* It will put an end to the K Street project, which Republicans have used to limit political access to corporations and lobbying firms who hire Republicans and contribute heavily to Republican campaigns.

The cost of corruption in Republican-run Washington is felt by American families everyday in South Florida. While thousands of South Florida seniors are struggling with a confusing and poorly implemented prescription drug program and middle-class families desperately try to pay higher bills with lower wages, special interests reap rewards and giveaways.

"The politics of corruption has been rampant in Washington." said Rep. Wasserman Schultz. "We must do all that we can as an institution to restore trust and confidence in government. Hopefully, these changes will be an integral step in that process."

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