Senate Democrats

Senate Democrats Highlight Commitment To Tough New Ethics Reform

Washington, DC — With the Senate moving forward on the American people’s call for change, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senator Russ Feingold, Senator Barack Obama, Senator Ben Cardin, Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Robert Casey, Senator Claire McCaskill, Senator Amy Klobuchar, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, and Senator Jon Tester today praised the new Democratic Congress for swiftly moving forward on the toughest ethics and lobbying reform in a generation. The new measure, the Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act of 2007, will open for debate this week on the Floor of the United States Senate cosponsored by Majority Leader Reid and by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell. The bipartisan legislation will bring much needed reform to the halls of Congress, banning gifts from lobbyists, closing the revolving door between K Street and the Capitol, improving ethics disclosure rules, reforming the earmark process, and more. The new Democratic Senate majority has made ethics reform a top priority for the 110th Congress, fulfilling a commitment made to the American people to clean up Washington and make Congress serve America again. “The American people demanded change, and Democrats are ready to deliver,” said Senator Reid. “The new Democratic Senate is committed to giving American a government as good—and as honest—as the people it serves. The Senate will start with legislation that is good, and working together we’ll improve it to make it even better. In the end, the Senate will pass the most sweeping reforms since Watergate.” “Now that the dust has settled and the new Congress is underway, we need to get down to business and show Americans that we are responding to their call for change,” Senator Feingold said. “We now have the opportunity to give the American people what they deserve and demanded in November – real ethics and lobbying reform that holds their elected officials to the highest ethical standards.” “The American people deserve more than window-dressing when it comes to ethics reform, they deserve meaningful reform that will finally end the undue influence that lobbyists and special interests have had over the laws we make,” Senator Obama said. “To do this, we must not only strengthen but enforce the rules governing our interactions with lobbyists, and finally make the legislative process fully transparent to the public. The American people put their faith in us so we could restore their faith in government, and this is our chance to make that happen “Ethics reform was one of the top issues as I campaigned for the U.S. Senate,” said Senator Casey. “Voters sent a strong signal that they want ethics reform.” “The American people spoke loud and clear this past November that they want a government that holds itself to higher ethical standards. I applaud the leadership in the Senate for delivering legislation that does just that,” Senator McCaskill said. “The tightening of our ethics policies will allow the United States Congress to act more independently from the influence of lobbyist, cutting the lifeline from the moneyed interests that found its way into our legislative process.” Senator Klobuchar said, “Ethics reform is the number one priority of this new Senate for a key reason: until we improve the way Congress does business, and until we make things fair again for ordinary Americans, we can’t effectively tackle the big issues facing our country, like energy independence, affordable health care, or relief for the middle class. With the energy of our new freshman class, the leadership of Senator Reid, and the commitment of Senators Feingold and Obama, we will pass real ethics reform.” “Rhode Islanders, and all Americans, deserve a government that meets the highest ethical standards. Majority Leader Reid is making good on that promise by making ethics reform the first order of business in the new Congress,” said Senator Whitehouse. “I am pleased this is our first priority, and proud to work with him and Senators Feingold and Obama, and with my fellow freshmen, to make a strong bill even stronger and show the American people that we are serious about making the federal government work for the people it represents.” “This bill addresses the concerns I heard across the state of Montana for more than a year,” said Senator Tester. “People want more transparency in government and they want their government to work for them, not corporate lobbyists. I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to restore faith in the process.” Last November, the American people demanded change at home and abroad, and Democrats are committed to delivering results in the 110th Congress. Democrats and Republicans are now working together to deliver the tough ethics reform needed to clean up Washington. Guided by the spirit of bipartisanship, Democrats are ready to move America forward.