topic
Congressional Reform

Introduced: November 08 2011

2011 was a year of special significance for Congress. As the American public watched partisanship increase and the ability to compromise or accomplish anything decrease, IWD asked: How do think Congress needs to be reformed?


Background:  An e-mail had circulated quoting Warren Buffet as saying that we could “end the deficit by passing a law that anytime there is a deficit of more than 3% of GDP, all sitting members of Congress would be ineligible for re-election.”

 

Second, 60 Minutes aired a program on members of Congress profiting by making investments based on information that isn’t available to the public.

 

 

Dialogue on Congressional Reform
188:

The idea that Warren Buffet mentioned about relating the deficit to re-election eligibility stems from a legitimate and deep desire for good fiscal policy and related accountability. But isn't that on us as voters to hold our representatives accountable? There is a system in place to hold them accountable: elections. The other reforms seem to make a lot of sense - members of Congress should get the same benefits as "regular" citizens. The 60 Minutes special on members of Congress profiting from insider trading was disheartening. It taints public service. The Congressman that proposed the Stock Bill said that it was foolish for him not to take advantage of the insider information. I do believe that most politicians go into politics with a spirit of serving their community and country. But if reforms like the Stock Bill, Campaign Finance Reform and term limits aren't implemented, how can we expect money NOT to have influence over our politicians? They say money and power corrupt. We can remove (or at least reduce) the money part of that equation.



Note from IWD: Follow-Up on Insider Trading: Since the 60 Minutes program, interest among members of Congress in addressing this issue has changed dramatically. The STOCK (Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge) Act -- introduced by Rep Louise Slaughter (D.-NY) and Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN), (and originally by Brian Baird (D-WA), which had been having difficulty attracting co-sponsors, -- suddenly has a flock of them. (Before the program, STOCK had 9 co-sponsors; as of this week, it had 174) Similar bills have been introduced in the Senate by Scott Brown (R-MA) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).


Note from IWD: A REALLY important part of the STOCK legislation is the part about "Political intelligence," that provides hedge funds and other investors with information about upcoming legislation that could impact stock prices. As of now, people involved in procuring this information don’t even have to register the way lobbyists do.

052:

I agree for the need to reform certain aspects of Congress.
1. I am torn about the need for term limits. The benefit is obvious, but the loss of seasoned responsible legislators (and there are some) who know the long term history of an issue could be lost and their knowledge is very valuable.
2. I do believe Congress and federal employees should be part of Social Security, it would make them much more interested in seeing it kept in good shape.
3. Any type of reform needs to include campaign finance reform. How about limiting campaign contributions to legal residents and businesses of the state or district where the legislator is from? This would bring down the money spent in a lot of campaigns and would allow big money to have a smaller role in many elections. A second thought would be to restrict legislators from voting on an issue if they took campaign contributions of, say, over $2500 from a company (or individual) involved in the legislation, for example if an oil company had given a Congressman $5000 for his campaign the congressman could not vote on tax issues, environmental issues, etc. that affect the oil company. Of course, what might happen is there might never be a majority to vote on certain issues. That's how much money has corrupted politics!

081:

Congressional Reform - What goes hand in hand with congressional reform, in my opinion, is campaign reform. Our constitution set up the government to represent THE PEOPLE of our nation not the increasing number of special interest groups. From our President down to the newly elected representatives, it appears to me the most important thing to them, once elected, is to stay in office. It would seem to make sense that if your constituents felt you were doing a good job you would be re-elected. But unfortunately its not that simple. Who would have thought that BILLIONS of dollars are spent in this country by people who are running for office. The people or groups that give the money obviously want something back and no one can get elected without THE MONEY. Thus, the obvious result is our elected officials are forced to play politics and often do not vote for what is in the best interest of their constituents or the country. How well qualified you might be for office and many other important consideration will always be second to the MONEY. Many also feel that term limits for congress would help with the problem. Maybe, but we need smart, well qualified individuals in government who know what they are doing. I think it takes a little time and experience to be effective. There is much needed reform for congress and for Wall Street.

188:

The idea that Warren Buffet mentioned about relating the deficit to re-election eligibility stems from a legitimate and deep desire for good fiscal policy and related accountability. But isn't that on us as voters to hold our representatives accountable? There is a system in place to hold them accountable: elections. The other reforms seem to make a lot of sense - members of Congress should get the same benefits as "regular" citizens. The 60 Minutes special on members of Congress profiting from insider trading was disheartening. It taints public service. The Congressman that proposed the Stock Bill said that it was foolish for him not to take advantage of the insider information. I do believe that most politicians go into politics with a spirit of serving their community and country. But if reforms like the Stock Bill, Campaign Finance Reform and term limits aren't implemented, how can we expect money NOT to have influence over our politicians? They say money and power corrupt. We can remove (or at least reduce) the money part of that equation.



Note from IWD: Follow-Up on Insider Trading: Since the 60 Minutes program, interest among members of Congress in addressing this issue has changed dramatically. The STOCK (Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge) Act -- introduced by Rep Louise Slaughter (D.-NY) and Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN), (and originally by Brian Baird (D-WA), which had been having difficulty attracting co-sponsors, -- suddenly has a flock of them. (Before the program, STOCK had 9 co-sponsors; as of this week, it had 174) Similar bills have been introduced in the Senate by Scott Brown (R-MA) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).


Note from IWD: A REALLY important part of the STOCK legislation is the part about "Political intelligence," that provides hedge funds and other investors with information about upcoming legislation that could impact stock prices. As of now, people involved in procuring this information don’t even have to register the way lobbyists do.

052:

I agree for the need to reform certain aspects of Congress.
1. I am torn about the need for term limits. The benefit is obvious, but the loss of seasoned responsible legislators (and there are some) who know the long term history of an issue could be lost and their knowledge is very valuable.
2. I do believe Congress and federal employees should be part of Social Security, it would make them much more interested in seeing it kept in good shape.
3. Any type of reform needs to include campaign finance reform. How about limiting campaign contributions to legal residents and businesses of the state or district where the legislator is from? This would bring down the money spent in a lot of campaigns and would allow big money to have a smaller role in many elections. A second thought would be to restrict legislators from voting on an issue if they took campaign contributions of, say, over $2500 from a company (or individual) involved in the legislation, for example if an oil company had given a Congressman $5000 for his campaign the congressman could not vote on tax issues, environmental issues, etc. that affect the oil company. Of course, what might happen is there might never be a majority to vote on certain issues. That's how much money has corrupted politics!

081:

Congressional Reform - What goes hand in hand with congressional reform, in my opinion, is campaign reform. Our constitution set up the government to represent THE PEOPLE of our nation not the increasing number of special interest groups. From our President down to the newly elected representatives, it appears to me the most important thing to them, once elected, is to stay in office. It would seem to make sense that if your constituents felt you were doing a good job you would be re-elected. But unfortunately its not that simple. Who would have thought that BILLIONS of dollars are spent in this country by people who are running for office. The people or groups that give the money obviously want something back and no one can get elected without THE MONEY. Thus, the obvious result is our elected officials are forced to play politics and often do not vote for what is in the best interest of their constituents or the country. How well qualified you might be for office and many other important consideration will always be second to the MONEY. Many also feel that term limits for congress would help with the problem. Maybe, but we need smart, well qualified individuals in government who know what they are doing. I think it takes a little time and experience to be effective. There is much needed reform for congress and for Wall Street.

081:

Congressional Reform - What goes hand in hand with congressional reform, in my opinion, is campaign reform. Our constitution set up the government to represent THE PEOPLE of our nation not the increasing number of special interest groups. From our President down to the newly elected representatives, it appears to me the most important thing to them, once elected, is to stay in office. It would seem to make sense that if your constituents felt you were doing a good job you would be re-elected. But unfortunately its not that simple. Who would have thought that BILLIONS of dollars are spent in this country by people who are running for office. The people or groups that give the money obviously want something back and no one can get elected without THE MONEY. Thus, the obvious result is our elected officials are forced to play politics and often do not vote for what is in the best interest of their constituents or the country. How well qualified you might be for office and many other important consideration will always be second to the MONEY. Many also feel that term limits for congress would help with the problem. Maybe, but we need smart, well qualified individuals in government who know what they are doing. I think it takes a little time and experience to be effective. There is much needed reform for congress and for Wall Street.

052:

I agree for the need to reform certain aspects of Congress.
1. I am torn about the need for term limits. The benefit is obvious, but the loss of seasoned responsible legislators (and there are some) who know the long term history of an issue could be lost and their knowledge is very valuable.
2. I do believe Congress and federal employees should be part of Social Security, it would make them much more interested in seeing it kept in good shape.
3. Any type of reform needs to include campaign finance reform. How about limiting campaign contributions to legal residents and businesses of the state or district where the legislator is from? This would bring down the money spent in a lot of campaigns and would allow big money to have a smaller role in many elections. A second thought would be to restrict legislators from voting on an issue if they took campaign contributions of, say, over $2500 from a company (or individual) involved in the legislation, for example if an oil company had given a Congressman $5000 for his campaign the congressman could not vote on tax issues, environmental issues, etc. that affect the oil company. Of course, what might happen is there might never be a majority to vote on certain issues. That's how much money has corrupted politics!

188:

The idea that Warren Buffet mentioned about relating the deficit to re-election eligibility stems from a legitimate and deep desire for good fiscal policy and related accountability. But isn't that on us as voters to hold our representatives accountable? There is a system in place to hold them accountable: elections. The other reforms seem to make a lot of sense - members of Congress should get the same benefits as "regular" citizens. The 60 Minutes special on members of Congress profiting from insider trading was disheartening. It taints public service. The Congressman that proposed the Stock Bill said that it was foolish for him not to take advantage of the insider information. I do believe that most politicians go into politics with a spirit of serving their community and country. But if reforms like the Stock Bill, Campaign Finance Reform and term limits aren't implemented, how can we expect money NOT to have influence over our politicians? They say money and power corrupt. We can remove (or at least reduce) the money part of that equation.



Note from IWD: Follow-Up on Insider Trading: Since the 60 Minutes program, interest among members of Congress in addressing this issue has changed dramatically. The STOCK (Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge) Act -- introduced by Rep Louise Slaughter (D.-NY) and Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN), (and originally by Brian Baird (D-WA), which had been having difficulty attracting co-sponsors, -- suddenly has a flock of them. (Before the program, STOCK had 9 co-sponsors; as of this week, it had 174) Similar bills have been introduced in the Senate by Scott Brown (R-MA) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).


Note from IWD: A REALLY important part of the STOCK legislation is the part about "Political intelligence," that provides hedge funds and other investors with information about upcoming legislation that could impact stock prices. As of now, people involved in procuring this information don’t even have to register the way lobbyists do.

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