by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Republican Indiana Sen. Mike Braun, co-sponsor of a recently introduced bill banning ex-congressmen from lobbying Congress, said his bill would help get Congress out of a “rut” — but he’s not expecting the legislation to gain traction anytime soon.
“I think that here you’d attract better people if you didn’t have them make a career out of it,” Braun told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “But so many incentives are put in place with pensions, the ability after you’re done to become a lobbyist, so you do nestle in, and then you start maybe not making the right long-term decisions. You basically make a decision: what will be best for me to nestle in further, be around here longer.”
Braun and Republican Florida Sen. Rick Scott are the cosponsors of the Banning Lobbying and Safeguarding Trust (BLAST) Act, introduced Feb. 28. Braun connected the legislation to his reform agenda, including doing away with taxpayer-funded pensions for members of Congress.
Although the lawmakers are “barking up the right tree,” their solution might not be realistic, a government transparency expert told TheDCNF.
“You generally do see more of a reform agenda from some of the newer members that come into the Senate or into the House. We’re hoping some of their policies actually gain traction and can be supported in a bipartisan way,” Scott Amey, general counsel at the Project on Government Oversight, said in a phone interview. “The public is tired of politics as usual.”