Monday, January 08, 2007

A good sign that the Democrats mean what they said

This Washington Post article points out that the Democrats are making a huge effort to change things in Washington. Some interesting points from the article:

The House overwhelmingly approved a bill that, for the first time, officially equates tariff suspensions with a better-known variety of legislative pork, the congressional earmark. The new rules require public disclosure of each measure's sponsor, purpose and cost whenever lawmakers slip one into legislation.

The rules also require that congressional sponsors identify each person or corporation "reasonably anticipated to benefit" from the breaks on import taxes.

The rules direct sponsoring lawmakers to certify that they and their spouses have no financial stake in the tax breaks, and they ban the practice of trading provisions for members' votes.

In one of the first official acts of the new Democratic majority, the House approved the rule changes 280 to 152. Some analysts predicted the changes would encourage increased scrutiny of a practice that, a Washington Post study found, often benefits large foreign-based corporations.

The Senate is expected to take up similar legislation this week.

In recent months, the number of Congressionally approved tariff suspensions has soared. It rose from 440 at the end of 2004 to more than 800 in the just-concluded 109th Congress, including provisions covering such products as shoes, camcorders and boiled oysters.

It's not fair to place blame soley on Republicans for the past practice, Democrats voted for these tariff suspensions in the past, and it should be pointed out that 48 Republicans voted for this rule change. That said, it's a promising move forward...

1 comment:

Roland Hansen said...

Forward, ho!!!