Floor Statement Of Congressman Stephen F. Lynch On Lobbying Reform

Apr 27, 2006

On April 27, 2006, Congressman Stephen F. Lynch made the following statement on the floor of the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />U.S. House of Representatives:

Mr. Speaker, the lobbying reform proposal drafted by the Republican leadership in the wake of the Jack Abramoff scandal and other recent instances of corruption by public officials is woefully lacking in many respects.  Chief among them, however, is its failure to address the central weakness and the most corrosive aspect of the current lobbying rules.  That has proven to be this revolving door aspect we have heard so much about today, which involves public sector congressional folks, employees, going over to work for special interest groups. In the most recent instance with the Abramoff scandal, we had staffers for the former Republican leader going over to work for Abramoff.

However, the need to impose greater restrictions on the flow between key legislative and executive branch policymaking posts and business and lobbying firms was never more evident than during the days following the passage of the Medicare Prescription Drug Act. That was an absolute disgrace. We came to find out that the former chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee had taken the top job at the pharmaceutical industry's most powerful trade group only a couple of months after he had played an instrumental role in the bill's development and promotion.

We came to find out only days after passage of the Medicare act that the Administration's chief Congressional negotiator on the bill had landed a job at a top lobbying firm representing drug companies and health care providers with major stakes in the legislation.

As has been pointed out, that legislation has a provision that says the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall not negotiate lower drug prices with the pharmaceutical companies. Then one of the chief drafters of the bill goes to work for the pharmaceutical companies. It weakens our credibility as an institution here. Not only were seniors robbed, but also I think that the insurance companies were allowed to greatly benefit as a result of this revolving door situation, and we must correct it.

  

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