Lobbying bill better late than never

Last Thursday, the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly approved a bill to reform ethics and lobbying legislation in order to ease voters’ frustrations with corruption on Capitol Hill.The Democrat-initiated bill, passed 96-2, will force senators to abandon gifts, free travel and other benefits they may receive from lobbyists, according to the Associated Press. The bill will also make senators “more accountable for the pet projects they insert into bills.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., spoke highly of the bill after its passage, calling it the most significant ethics and lobbying legislation in the history of the country.

It’s true, the bill will restore some citizens’ confidence in our elected officials. But this bill should have been passed years ago.

With recent scandals involving notorious lobbyist Jack Abramoff and former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, it’s about time our representatives took the time out of their busy schedules to regulate their activities.

Despite Democrats labeling Republicans’ actions a “culture of corruption,” the bill should not be viewed as politically one-sided.

All representatives, no matter the party, should be held responsible for their actions.

Additionally, the bill forbids “spouses of sitting members from lobbying,” according to the AP article.

Just because you’re friends with the boss doesn’t mean you have a say in the company.

Although it’s legal and has a long history at the Capitol, lobbying has shifted from a dialogue between influential groups and elected officials to a multibillion-dollar business of back-scratching and handshake deals.

To restore faith in the House of Representatives, voters need to be assured that the men and women they elect hold integrity to the highest regard.

And to return to a more neutral stance on Capitol Hill, lobbyists need to be shown the exit.

Managing editor John-Laurent Tronche for the editorial board.