House Tentative On Easing Gift Ban

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WASHINGTON, D.C.: Some 16 months after House lawmakers imposed a partial gift ban on themselves, members of a bipartisan ethics committee are considering easing the restrictions. According to New York Republican Gerald Solomon, the current ban is too inflexible and should be replaced with one which allows members to accept gifts worth up to $50, the maximum amount now allowed in the Senate. TIME's James Carney says the panel's initiative will most likely die on the vine: "It probably won't go anywhere, because the House passed this thing with a lot of self congratulation, and to back off it now would open up it to a lot of ridicule. It's like voting for a pay raise: While it may be justified, it's like committing political suicide."