Many critics, including the Deseret News, have pointed fingers at Congress for exempting itself from laws it passes for others. Perhaps embarrassed by this election-year publicity, the House of Representatives this week approved a lobby-restriction bill that includes its own members.
The measure, which strengthens lobbying rules against the executive branch, also - for the first time - put some limits on House members and their senior office and committee staffers. It would prohibit them for one year after leaving office from contacting any of their peers in behalf of a private interest.That hardly eliminates former members of Congress and their staffs from influence peddling, but the one-year waiting period may prevent some of the more blatant abuses.
In any event, Congress has shown some statesmanship by including itself in lobbying rules and regulations. But it wasn't easy. The Senate passed a similar measure last April and the House struggled with it ever since.
Some small differences in the two versions should be resolved easily in conference before Congress adjourns and the legislation can go to the president for his signature.
Having gone this far, however, the Congress has only begun to clean up its double standard involving the laws others must live by. In the next session, senators and representatives should eliminate their exemptions from employee health and safety laws, wage and hour rules, and sex discrimination.
As a matter of principle, those who make the rules for the nation must be subject to those same rules. If that were applied across the board, members of Congress might not be so eager to burden everyone else with a seemingly endless flow of laws and regulations.