Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Democratic-led House votes tougher ethics rules

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. House of Representatives, where Democrats won power last year amid a spate of mostly Republican scandals, overwhelmingly approved legislation on Tuesday to toughen congressional ethics and lobbying rules and laws.

Key provisions require greater disclosure of pet projects slipped into massive spending measures, prohibit pensions to lawmakers convicted of bribery and require disclosure of campaign donations lobbyists collect for members of Congress.

On a vote of 411-8, the House passed the measure and sent it to the Senate for anticipated final approval. A number of Senate Republicans, whose party controlled Congress much of the past decade, have complained the measure does not go far enough, but a Senate aide said most Republicans appeared to support it.

Advocacy groups have urged its passage. If the Senate gives it final congressional approval, President George W. Bush is expected to sign the legislation into law.

"Today is a proud day for this body, and a dramatic example of how the Congress that was elected last November pledging to clean up the 'culture of corruption' is making good on its promise," declared House Democratic leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland....

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