LOBBYING ACCOUNTABILITY AND TRANSPARENCY ACT OF 2006 -- (House of Representatives - May 03, 2006)
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Mr. GARRETT of New Jersey. Mr. Chairman, I rise today in support of this legislation, and I congratulate the gentleman from California for your work.
It is critical that we scrutinize lobbying activities to help restore the confidence of the American people in their government. And this bill makes real progress addressing some recent high-profile scandals that have basically rocked American confidence in government. In fact, it includes one of the proposals I introduced several months ago requiring lobbyists to itemize their reports so we know how much money lobbyists spend on Members and their staff. You know, we do this in campaign finance, and the same openness should apply to these transactions. And I thank the gentleman for including that proposal in this package.
But, you know, looking at lobbyists and lobbying reforms is only part of the process. We have to look also at the way we behave as well in this House. In particular, Congress must address earmarks.
Now, Mr. Chairman, it is my fervent hope that we would not simply stop with earmark reform for appropriation bills. As authorization bills and tax bills often include infamous and egregious earmarks, we should seek to make these processes open and honest as well. Again, I am not opposed to earmarks in general. I think that the legislative branch has a role to play in this area. It is not simply an area for the executive branch to play. But it is an area where the transparency and the light of day should shine on all earmarks. Transparency will then make sure that the good ones rise to the top and actually will be passed and the other ones which are not so good will obviously fall by the wayside.
If I may add one other comment, Mr. Chairman. As this legislation goes through the process, I am a little bit concerned about GSEs and government-sponsored entities, and I would commend the gentleman to look as it goes through the process as we revisit this in conference.
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