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Congress

Casino Jack vs. the Gym Rats / The Boehner Blitz.

Behind closed doors, the Republicans talk amongst themselves about lobbying reform, with the status quo beating back a challenge by reformers to vote on new GOP leadership across the board (except for Hastert.) “‘All we were doing was asking us to look in the mirror,’ Rep. Daniel E. Lungren (R-Calif.), a co-sponsor of the motion, said after the vote. ‘The shadow of [Jack] Abramoff is not a mere distraction but a serious problem to address.’” Meanwhile, in the race for Majority Leader, while Blunt might be on the threshold of maintaining the DeLay ring’s hold over the House GOP, Boehner apparently proved himself no friend to reform either. Speaking on the GOP’s anti-lobbying package, he “scoffed that Congress knows how to do just two things well — nothing and overreact, according to witnesses.” And Boehner leads the candidates in former-staffers-turned-lobbyists.

But, give ‘em credit — the GOP have at least succeeded in kicking lobbyists out of the House gym. “The rule change passed overwhelmingly, 379 to 50, but not before Democrats — and some Republicans — ridiculed it as meaningless. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) suggested that lawmakers compromise and change the rules so that lobbyists must yield to lawmakers who want to use the gym equipment they are on. ‘I’m a gym guy; I’ve never seen anybody lobbied there,’ said Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.). ‘I’ve never seen any nefarious plots hatched on the treadmill.’” Just in case, though, Boss DeLay voted against the change.

Update: It’s Boehner on the second ballot over Blunt, 122-109. (Looks like the Shadegg-Boehner deal went through — On the first ballot, Blunt, who will remain Majority Whip, was only 7 votes shy of winning.)

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