Two Down, One to Go

AFTER months of maneuvering, and some foot-dragging, Congress has passed a lobbying reform bill that promises to open Washington's interplay of influence and policymaking to much wider public view.

This laudable step, which will swiftly get President Clinton's signature, follows Senate and House passage of strengthened bans on receiving gifts from lobbyists.

Two parts of the current political-reform agenda are thus completed. The third, campaign-spending reform, should receive attention early next year. It's the most controversial of the lot and won't come easily, even with the momentum from lobbying reform. But come it must, and the bill authored by Sens. John McCain (R) of Arizona and Russ Feingold (D) of Wisconsin provides a workable model.

Those who persisted with lobbying reform, such as Rep. Chris Shays (R) of Connecticut and Sen. Carl Levin (D) of Michigan, deserve the public's thanks. The legislation ultimately passed unanimously. But that masks the difficulty of their task.

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