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Sali: Support Growing for Congressional Reform Effort

September 25th, 2007 by Halli

By Congressman Bill Sali

Recently, a new Reuters/Zogby poll reported that just 11 percent of Americans believe Congress is doing a good job. This actually is a decrease from the previous poll that showed Congress’ approval rating at 14 percent. The fact that Congress’ approval isn’t lower is a testament to the graciousness of the American public. After all, that’s probably an overly generous approval rating for a Congress that just isn’t doing its job.

Some of us are doing what we can to change the way Congress does business, and I believe the desire to do something to fix this institution is growing.

I have introduced a measure co-sponsored by 28 of my colleagues to allow any Member of the House of Representatives to stand up and require separate votes on separate measures in a single bill. Congress needs more transparency. Members of Congress should be held accountable for the positions they take on issues. Bills with multiple and diverse topics do not provide you, the citizen and taxpayer, the ability to know where your representative stands on the individual issues.

I have also introduced a proposal to make legislative changes more accessible. H. Res. 619 would make it easier for everyone to see how legislation affects you, your families and your businesses and has been introduced with 14 cosponsors. If you’ve ever looked at a bill in Congress, you know the bill itself is without context. To know what’s being proposed, you have to read the legislation in one hand, and in the other hand have a copy of the current U.S. Code. Only then can you really know how the law is being changed and how those changes will affect you. With my proposal, the words, phrases and sections of U.S. Code being added or deleted would be clearly shown in the context of the Code itself.

Finally, I have signed a petition to force Congress to address earmark reform. This would guarantee that all earmarks are publicly disclosed and may be challenged and debated on the floor of the House of Representatives. I firmly believe that the spending of taxpayer dollars should be done in the light of day, under the scrutiny of the public eye. The public is tired of wasteful spending and secret, targeted spending projects requested by individual Members behind closed doors, and so am I. This isn’t about Democrats versus Republicans. This is about restoring transparency and accountability to an institution that has lost the confidence of the American people.

Under House rules, if the petition receives 217 signatures, a vote on the resolution must be scheduled. If the resolution passes, the House would operate under rules requiring greater transparency and public disclosure of earmarks contained in bills.

These bills and others I’m working on will help restore confidence in Congress, and I hope to be able to tell you more in the weeks ahead.

As always, it is important to me that I hear from you. You are encouraged to write me at www.sali.house.gov. Click on “contact” and “Email Bill.”

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