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US Congress Announces Lobbying Reforms

Republicans in the U.S. Congress have announced draft initiatives for lobbying reforms in the wake of a major corruption scandal involving former Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

The reforms proposed Tuesday by House and Senate Republicans include banning privately sponsored travel by lawmakers and stricter rules on disclosing contacts with lobbyists. They say they want a final lobbying reform bill ready for House debate by the end of February.

Meanwhile, House and Senate Democrats are holding a news conference later Wednesday to release their own set of proposals for ethics reforms. The reforms include barring members of Congress from accepting gifts, meals and travel from lobbyists.

The push for reforms was sparked by last month's report that Abramoff was indicted and pleaded guilty to offering trips and other gifts to several lawmakers in exchange for influence and support. One of his close ties was former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who gave up his post last year.

Some information for this report was provided by AP .