Statement on Lobbying Reform Bill

i thank you for your leadership in bringing this to the floor and allay somewhat the grief felt bit former chair of the rules committee, the ranking republican. on the one hand he says that TimeCode: 11:06:52.7 much of this bill is that which we passed last time offered by our friends on the minority side. if that is the case, we have adopted much of what you proposed. it is hard to say you weren't TimeCode: 11:07:09.2 con sult when we adopted -- consulted when we adopted much of what you proposed. i would hope that the grief would be allayed in that respect. secondly, let me say this, no conference. why no conference? because a republican member of TimeCode: 11:07:24.8 the united states senate wouldn't let us go to conference. that's why there was no conference. he stood day after day after day objecting to adopting this important reform package. and, as a result, we couldn't go to conference. TimeCode: 11:07:42.0 so you can't complain on the one hand we're not in conference when it is a republican senator from south carolina who day after day, week after week, objected to doing just that. mr. speaker, today is a proud day for this body. and, again, i congratulate my TimeCode: 11:07:58.9 friend, the distinguished chairman of the judiciary committee, mr. conyers. and a dramatic example of how the congress was elected last november pledging to clean up the culture of corruption is making good on its promise. i will talk a little bit about TimeCode: 11:08:14.3 that at the end in terms of rules are nice, but performance is better. last january, on the first day of this new congress, we enacted sweeping ethics changes, and today with this honest leadership and open government act of 2007, we have a simple, straightforward purpose, to continue to restore TimeCode: 11:08:31.6 public confidence in the legislative process. i commend chairman conyers, as i have, for his leadership in making possible this comprehensive reform measure. by shining a bright light on the campaign contribution that registered lobbyists bundle for members for congress, the TimeCode: 11:08:48.4 conference report before us increases transparency and gives the american people important insight on the legislative process. by denying members convicted of crimes of their congressional pension, the conference report ensures that members who break their oath to uphold the laws TimeCode: 11:09:04.0 of the land will not only suffer public disgrace and criminal sanctions, but also lifetime financial loss. there is no reason for taxpayers to subsidize criminal behavior of members of TimeCode: 11:09:20.6 congress. freshman member nancy boyda deserves a great deal of credit for her work on this provision. TimeCode: 11:09:31.9 those who recuse themselves from any manner in which there is a conflict of interest, the conference report before us will end the practice of members trying to cash in on the legislation that they steer TimeCode: 11:09:43.1 through this body. i don't know how many of you had the opportunity to watch "60 minutes" this past sunday and hear the comments of mr. burton and mr. jones. but that is trying to address that critical problem. as important as this TimeCode: 11:09:59.1 legislation is, that alone will not ensure the integrity of our process and this institution, rather, the members of this house will ensure the integrity of this house when we conduct TimeCode: 11:10:15.9 ourselves openly and honestly and hold accountable through a vigorous pursuit of the enforcement of our rules by the ethics committee, hold accountable by those who do not TimeCode: 11:10:33.6 abide by the rules and ethical standards. we have an obligation to ensure that the ethics committee does the job it was constituted to perform. it did not do so in the recent congresses. TimeCode: 11:10:47.7 the implementation of rules while critical must be followed by effective, real enforcement. this conference report is an important step forward and i urge my colleagues to support it. and i want to thank members on both sides of the aisle, TimeCode: 11:11:02.6 including mr. smith, for the work that they have done through the years to bring us to this day and close by congratulating mr. conyers and the leadership of our speaker in accomplishing this objective.