Loose Ethics in US Congress

In today’s United States Congress the loose interpretation of the rules is a major problem. Since some of the guidelines have room for interpretation members have gone against the common practices in order to get the votes needed for legislation. In November 2003, a bill on prescription drug coverage for Medicare may be one of the best examples of this loose interpretation of the rules. It has been common practice since 1973 when electronic voting began to hold votes open for fifteen minutes, though votes have been left open for a few minutes after the norm to accommodate members who were delayed to the floor (Mann & Ornstein, 2006). In November 2003 the vote was left open for two hours and fifty-two minutes. Members both republican and democrat where outraged. If this could be allowed all the normal practices of the house have been thrown out. The new way would consist of allowing votes to remain open in order for the majority to gain the votes needed to pass legislation. Also, during this vote, a member of Health and Human services was allowed on the floor to twist arms and lobby. This display violated a long standing tradition of the House, in which the floor is off limits to outsiders.

The senate has also showed a decline in the normal procedures, the filibuster, which was normally used only in times in which it had been limited to matters of great national importance , has became common practice by the minority party . They use the filibuster in order to raise the bar to sixty votes instead of fifty when a filibuster threat was raised (Mann & Ornstein, 2006).

Instead of using the unlimited debate that is allowed in the Senate to power in bipartisanship and good for the general interest of the people, the rules have been bent to further party interest. The barrage of uncommon and loose rule bending practices threatens to taint the integrity of the United States Congress and the welfare of the United States citizens. The congress was set up in a way that would allow for our representatives to constructively make the right choices and changes for our country and if not follow in order to further party or personal gains. Due to the loosening of the rules it has caused a breakdown in the framework of our government.