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Democrats offer plan to address K Street and more
Posted by: mcq on Thursday, January 19, 2006

In a move atypical of the Democrats recently, instead of simply engaging in criticism, they've actually offered a plan of their own:
Rather than limiting the value of a gift to $20, as House Republicans are considering, Democrats would prohibit all gifts from lobbyists. Democrats also take direct aim at some of the legislative practices that have become established in the past 10 years of Republican rule in Congress. They vowed to end the K Street Project, under which Republicans in Congress pressure lobbying organizations to hire only Republican staff members and contribute only to Republican candidates.
I concur with the proposal to ban all gifts. As I mentioned yesterday, I can conceive of no reason why it is important that members of Congress be able to accept gifts from registered lobbyists. I differentiated that from small gifts (a T-shirt or cap) from constituent groups. And that's a very easy distinction to make (key words being "registerd lobbyist" and "constituent").
Lawmakers would have to publicly disclose negotiations over private-sector jobs, a proposal inspired by then-House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman W.J. "Billy" Tauzin's job talks in 2003 that led to his hiring as president of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America in January 2005. Executive branch officials who are negotiating private-sector jobs would need approval from the independent Office of Governmental Ethics.
Good. Like it. Incorporate it.
Under the Democrats' plan, House and Senate negotiators working out final versions of legislation would have to meet in open session, with all members of the conference committee — not just Republicans — having the opportunity to vote on amendments. Legislation would have to be posted publicly 24 hours before congressional consideration. Democrats also proposed to crack down on no-bid contracting and to require that any person appointed to a position involving public safety "possess proven credentials."
Concerning the posting of legislation, 24 hours is not enough time. It should be posted for a minimum of 72 hours before a vote can be taken and longer if possible.

While I am generally sympathetic to the Democrat's point about no-bid contracts, I'm leery of a blanket denial. There are some cases where no-bids are necessary when faced with crisis situations, such as Katrina, etc.

The last is aimed at cronyism, and the Myers appointment at ICE. I agree that if there are specific job requirements then a candidate must possess those qualifications. It seems such a common sense thing you wonder why it even has to be brought up. But we are talking politics and government, aren't we?

Republicans need to take note here. The Democrats are trying to steal a step on you, and, given these solid recommendations, are succeeding.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

The problem I have with their offering is that it assumes adding another law is going to solve anything. It never has, and never will. There are lots of laws on the books; If simply passing a law solved anything, we’d not be having this discussion. Someone who is corrupt is going to find a way around any law man can write.

The problem is the amount of power the government has.
The solution is, remove the power of the government, and the corrupt ones go away, too.

The solution the Democrats are offering, is more of the same... more law... more governmental power expended.
Written By: Bithead
Republicans need to take note here. The Democrats are trying to steal a step on you, and, given these solid recommendations, are succeeding.

It only succeeds.......if it succeeds. I don’t think they’ll be able to ride this "culture of corruption" thing into the promised land.
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Neither dNoted in passing a few minutes ago that neither does RCP, apparently. They seem to feel that the concentration on Abrhamoff will cost the Democrats the House.
Written By: Bithead
... Democrats would prohibit all gifts from lobbyists ...

I think this is already illegal.

Democrats also proposed to crack down on no-bid contracting and to require that any person appointed to a position involving public safety "possess proven credentials."

This is just a recipe for disaster. The Bush Administration cronyism has been pretty bad, but no-bid contracting is an absolute necessity in numerous instances (especially in times of war), and who decides what "proven creditials" are?

This last bit is obviously aimed at appointments like Michael Brown as head of FEMA. There is mistaken belief that this position requires a former resue/relief worker. The president of FedEx is probably a better fit for the job, but would he be considered to "possess proven credentials"? Certainly not if he has any connection to the current administation.
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://
“Sen. Barack Obama and other black Democrats are defending Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s description of the House of Representatives as a "plantation." “
Uh-oh. One hope of independents is that Democrats like Obama can speak with a new voice and lead the party away from its special interest pandering ways. Hopefully, this is just Obama getting his race card punched and he will have more constructive things to say in the future. I was hoping for something better. Come on Democrats, America needs you. Quit screwing around and offer some leadership. This small "step" is a good example.
Written By: Notherbob2
URL: http://
It absolutely does seem like common sense that only political appointees that "possess proven credentials" are allowed. But, it only seems that way. MichaelW makes the excellent point that how people define "proven credentials" is anything but common. It’s just not an objective enough measure.

Many feel that Harriet Meiers lacks those credetials because she does not have the Ivy League pedigree that Roberts and Alito have, or that she lacks experience as a judge, or that she lacks experience arguing before the high court. But, many of us feel that those aren’t very important credentials for a SCOTUS nominee.

Passing any law that requires proven credentials is too vague - too open to interpretation. Such a law would only bog down the confirmation process further by encouraging arguments about what constitutes "proven credentials".
Written By: Doug Purdie
Proven Credentials eases the need for filibuster and takes the onus off the minority party to take a stand on principle.

Just a question How many American companies have the ability to feed 140K deployed troops?
Written By: Coaster
URL: http://
Pizza Hut, Burger King, KFC, Denny’s, Wendy’s, Red Lobster, Arby’s, the list is very long.
You actually figure to feed an army nothing but fast food?
Such a decision may or may not make the bean counters happy, but at the least it’ll make for a somewhat larger military.
Passing any law that requires proven credentials is too vague - too open to interpretation
Or, open to political manipulation. Witness the Alioto nomination and the resulting lynching. The only question that was before the senators was whether or not Judge Alioto was qualified for the position. given his resume that question should have been answered in the first 30 seconds and everybody could go on a home that first day. Somehow.... well, it always seems to come back to a political litmus test, doesn’t it? What in the world makes anyone think that that situation going to be any different requiring, "credentials" for any other government post?

Written By: Bithead
"Proven credentials" also allows the people handing out credentials to act as gatekeepers.

I’d be interested to know how many people here had "Proven Credentials" when they entered their career track?
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
I’ve already raised that issue. I was summarily dismissed. I also raised the point that the people who were supposedly qualified hadn’t been doing all that good a job, and that if they HAD done a good job, we’d not be at a point where such drastic changes were needed. That, too was summarily dismissed.

Given those two points, I feel to see how the proposals are going to change anything for the better. Indeed, I see them changing for the worse.
Written By: Bithead

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