Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) on Thursday went on a Twitter rant about how members of Congress shouldn't be able to get a lobbying position right after leaving. The most shocking thing to come out of insight: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said he not only agrees with her but he'd be willing to reach across the aisle and work with her to make sure this was a reality.
If you are a member of Congress + leave, you shouldn’t be allowed to turn right around&leverage your service for a lobbyist check.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 30, 2019
I don’t think it should be legal at ALL to become a corporate lobbyist if you’ve served in Congress.
At minimum there should be a long wait period. https://t.co/xMu9Mwmdm6
Keeping it real, the ?? in the room w/ passing a lobbying ban on members requires a nearly-impossible discussion about Congressional pay.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 30, 2019
It is understandably unpopular to discuss giving Congress any raises or perks - & bc of that, there’s incentive to keep $ loopholes open. /2
For ex, members of Congress have strict restrictions that most of the public don’t have.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 30, 2019
1 case: bc of our jobs we *have* to have 2 residences & pay for it out of pocket. BUT we‘re banned from writing it off as a work expense.
Boo hoo, right? Well, that incentivizes loopholes.
There are plenty of examples. Another big one is spousal loopholes. They’re tough discussions & politically unpopular.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 30, 2019
It’s one under-discussed side to cracking the nut of money in politics.
Multi-millionaires can also weaponize these convos to their advantage, for cuts.
Some people have brought up Congressional dorms - certainly a possibility.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 30, 2019
This does happen informally; lots of members live in the same building/apt. Key to any solution (dorm, stipend, w/e) is compatibility w family/spouse- many work overtime, unrecognized, to support members.
Cruz also reminded people that he has called for a lifetime ban on former members of Congress becoming lobbyists.
Here’s something I don’t say often: on this point, I AGREE with @AOC Indeed, I have long called for a LIFETIME BAN on former Members of Congress becoming lobbyists. The Swamp would hate it, but perhaps a chance for some bipartisan cooperation? https://t.co/jPW0xkH2Yy— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) May 30, 2019
AOC said she'd take Cruz up on his offer if he agreed to a "straight, clean" bill.
.@tedcruz if you’re serious about a clean bill, then I’m down.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 30, 2019
Let’s make a deal.
If we can agree on a bill with no partisan snuck-in clauses, no poison pills, etc - just a straight, clean ban on members of Congress becoming paid lobbyists - then I’ll co-lead the bill with you. https://t.co/AZTbmdSexv
You’re on. https://t.co/S3TBfNeO3Q— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) May 30, 2019
In general, this seems like a pretty solid plan, depending on how the bill is actually written, should they move forward. Average Americans are tired of seeing this revolving door on Capitol Hill. A person gets voted into the House or Senate, they leave (at least on the elected front) but then they use their influence and contacts to advocate for special interests. The revolving door is, in essence, the main reason the swamp exists. People know they can get elected to Congress, serve one or two years and they're essentially guaranteed a job for life. And it's not what the Founding Fathers intended when they established our system. They wanted people to work FOR THE PEOPLE that elected them. They were supposed to be elected officials part of the time and spend the other portion of their time as normal, average, everyday citizens. The Founding Fathers never intended public service to be a full-time, life-long job.