Rep. Louise Slaughter of New York, ranking member of the House Rules Committee, was on Air America Radio today to discuss the report released last week by her committee–“America For Sale–The Cost of Republican Corruption.” Congresswoman Slaughter talked about Medicare, the disputed Halliburton money that has been returned to Halliburton, and the failure of contractors to provide safety for American troops in Iraq.
From the report’s executive summary:
The most important thing to know about Washington these days is the following statistic: over the past ten years, the number of registered lobbyists in Washington has grown from around 10,000 to more than 34,000, while the fees that lobbyists charge their new clients have increased by as much as 100 percent. Today there are 63 registered lobbyists for each member of Congress.
The success of The K Street Project, according to the report, has led to “bizarre, outrageous stories that seem more at home in the pulp paperback thrillers of John Grisham or Carl Hiaasen than in the halls of Congress.”
Though the new House Majority Leader, John Boehner, was chosen because he was considered farther removed from Rep. Tom DeLay than the acting Majority Leader and presumed frontrunner, Rep. Roy Blunt, Boehner is nevertheless closely tied to K Street. For all the talk of “reform,” by electing Boehner, House Republicans have made it clear that they wish to protect and prolong the current system of government by lobbyists.
“America for Sale” goes into great detail on the sale of Medicare, energy security, homeland security, national defense, public health, jobs, and higher education corporate interests. It is not a pleasant read, but it should be a required one.