An intellectual freedom blog with an emphasis on libraries and technology

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Baby pledges to sever umbilical cord

The Democrats and lobbyists

In an AP story today (Nov 10) Nancy Pelosi announced the democrats pledge to sever ties to lobbyists. As the AP story points out, that's day 1, but day 2 they will be asking the lobbyists for donations.

More than donations or the Abramov scandal I would like to find out if they will do anything about who is writing the legislation? In 1995 after Newt Gingrich and his "reformers" cut the Congress' budget for staff no one was left to do the work of crafting the legislation introduced in the House or Senate. The representatives and senators themselves have too much other work to do to devote the needed time and effort to write the laws themselves. The majority of Congresspeople do not even have time to read the legislation that they vote on. Lobbyists have been writing legislation for a given Representative or Senator to introduce to Congress. This has remained an under-reported fact of life ever since Gingrich started as Speaker of the House.

Will the democrats restore the staff budget to allow people they hire and who work for the government to do the work of writing the legislation or will they continue to outsource this essential task to lobbyists? Nancy Pelosi and the democrats can say anything they like and they can villify the lobbyists as much as they like. If the lobbyists continue to write the laws, why should they care what anyone says?

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