For the second time in two weeks, Senate Republicans have blocked the lobbying and ethics reform legislation. First it was Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) who obstructed final consideration of the legislation; now it is Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.).
Both senators claim that they are not opposed to ethics, or even the new reform legislation, for that matter. They just want assurances that favored legislative proposals will be addressed. For DeMint, he wants the Senate to guarantee passage of earmarking reform, before he will allow the lobbying and ethics bill – which contains DeMint’s exact earmarking reform language – proceed to conference committee to iron out the differences with the House bill.
Don’t buy these excuses for a second.
Last year, when the Republicans controlled Congress and had a golden opportunity to clean up its act and pass lobbying and ethics reform legislation, the Republicans chose instead to let the legislation quietly die in conference. How convenient: they went on record voting for reform, but did not actually have to stomach any reform.
This year, the reform legislation rolled through both the Senate and the House, but must again be reconciled in conference before final passage. If DeMint and McConnell succeed at blocking conference proceedings, they will have succeeded at killing the legislation – all the while avoiding a public vote against reform.
Enough already! Americans are demanding lobbying and ethics reform. DeMint – end your filibuster against ethics.