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U.S. House Overwhelmingly Approves First Ethics Changes

Statement of Diane E. Brown, Executive Director
For Immediate Release

The new Congress has taken its first critical steps in changing the way business is done in Washington, D.C.  The Arizona Public Interest Research Group (Arizona PIRG) applauds the action taken by the U.S. House this evening on the first pieces of the U.S. House rules package.  Speaker Pelosi and the leadership deserve significant credit for bringing meaningful proposals to the floor.  The overwhelming support for new restrictions on lobbyist-funded trips and gifts send a powerful message that the new Congress is taking the need for reform seriously.

This is a sea-change from the ill-conceived and ineffectual bill considered and passed by the U.S. House during the scandal plagued session last year.

These first steps are encouraging and we look forward to working with all members of the U.S. House on additional necessary reforms.  Among the changes left to be considered, the most important is the establishment of an independent enforcement entity.  The U.S. House Ethics Committee continues to prove its inability to hold members accountable for ethical transgressions.  The vote tonight suggests that even some of the most skeptical members of Congress now understand and appreciate the public's frustration with the status quo.

We urge the U.S. Senate to adopt these measures and show the same commitment to limiting the influence of powerful interests across the Congress.

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