In the House, Democrats did not skip a beat between formally taking control and getting to work on what they have called their hundred-hours agenda. Last night, the House nearly unanimously approved a broad package of internal rules changes designed to sever the cozy links that have developed between lawmakers and lobbyists.
The changes would prohibit House members or employees from knowingly accepting gifts or travel from a registered lobbyist, foreign agent or lobbyist's client. Lawmakers could no longer fly on corporate jets. In addition, congressional travel financed by outside groups would have to be approved in advance by the House ethics committee and immediately disclosed to the public.
The measures were approved 430 to 1, with only Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.) voting against it. This was a remarkable change considering that House Republicans could barely pass a far weaker measure last May and ultimately did not enact any measure because they could not reach agreement with the Senate. But voters in November identified corruption as one of their primary concerns, and the House responded yesterday.
I can't tell you how gratified I am at seeing some action. OK, now let's see some action on minimum wage and healthcare.