On January 18, 2006, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, Congresswoman Louise Slaughter of New York, and Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, unveiled Democrats' "Honest Leadership, Open Government Act," which will restore honesty, integrity, and openness to government. Below are Pelosi's remarks as prepared.
"Good afternoon. It is fitting that we gather in the building of the Library of Congress named for Thomas Jefferson, the author of our Declaration of Independence. Today, Democrats are here to make a Declaration of Independence from special interests.
"These halls contain great wisdom. In the hall behind me are three paintings about government. The central painting contains President Lincoln's famous words, "A government of the people, by the people, and for the people." On the right side, a mural entitled "Good Administration" shows a figure reading and voting, symbolizing the value of an informed and involved citizenry. On the other side is a painting entitled "Corrupt Legislation," which shows a figure burning a scroll of learning and trampling a Bible.
"It is a harsh image, to see a Bible underfoot -- but it makes a powerful point: corrupt government undermines our values. We come here today to support those values, and to lay out an agenda for a new era of honest, open, and transparent government.
"For a long time now, an ethical cloud has hung over the Capitol. For years, Democrats have called for an end to the Republican culture of corruption.
"Yesterday, House Republican leaders unveiled a vague and insufficient set of so-called reforms. What is important about their list is not what it does do, but what it doesn't do. It doesn't kill the K Street project, it doesn't address procedural abuses in the House that Republicans use to implement their culture of corruption, and it doesn't charge the Ethics committee to act immediately. The Democratic plan we unveil today addresses all of these necessary refor [Response was truncated to maximum response length of 2000 characters.]