Any law-abiding American is certain to be pleased that the U.S. House of Representatives has passed, by a 431-0 vote, legislation that will deny congressional pensions to members of Congress who are convicted of crimes such as bribery, fraud and perjury.
The driving force behind the action was Rep. Nancy Boyda, D-Kan., who is new on the job but lost no time in dealing with a sore point for the citizenry, including her constituents.
Lawmakers, a lot of them newly elected Democrats, seem dedicated to improving the tarnished reputation of Congress after members recently have been convicted of corruption and misbehavior. The fact there was not one dissenting vote on this issue indicates a strong intent to improve the climate and restore public trust and respect. This is a good start.
Bob Ney, R-Ohio, was sentenced recently to 30 months in prison for taking political favors from Jack Abramoff, the influence-peddling lobbyist whose actions helped make political corruption a major issue in the November elections.
There is one undesirable aspect to the Boyda-fueled legislation. It is not retroactive. It will not affect some 20 former lawmakers who ran counter to the law and may continue to collect benefits.
But there is a new start, progress is being made and a majority of the citizens hope this is only one of the many actions needed to put the House (and Senate) back in order and deal harshly with crooks. It is too bad that previous miscreants will continue to eat at the public trough, however. Why should such people continue to benefit from the dollars provided by people they helped cheat out of decent performance?
Ideally, there will be no new additions to such ranks.