The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


October 8, 2012

Congress Members Back Legislation That Could Benefit Themselves, Relatives


Sessions has adhered to all Senate ethics rules and principles and did not seek an ethics opinion because the rules were clear, Miller said.

"The Senator's reform efforts with respect to timber are part of a larger, broader effort to ensure the competitiveness of American industry and to defend the American worker on the world stage," he said.

After Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., took office in 2007, he asked the House Ethics Committee whether he could vote on legislation that might affect his personal holdings, including an investment worth as much as $5 million in his brother's home health-care business, Louisville-based Almost Family. The panel advised he was prohibited from actions that would benefit his assets in a "direct and distinct manner, rather than merely as a member of a class." Otherwise, the committee said, he had a duty to vote.

In office, Yarmuth joined the congressional Home Health Caucus, a group of two dozen lawmakers that promotes the value of in-home health care.

He also has helped co-sponsor a handful of bills of interest to the industry, including the Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act. That pending bill would expand the number of health professionals who can refer patients to home health care. And, in May, Yarmuth co-sponsored a legislative amendment to block across-the-board Medicare cuts to providers, including home health aides. The effort failed.

Yarmuth declined to be interviewed through a spokesman, who said the congressman's policy since his 2011 appointment to the House Ethics Committee was not to comment on issues that could relate to committee business. But his communications director, Stephen George, said the lawmaker has avoided conflicts of interest and adheres to the ethics committee's guidance. During congressional matters involving home health care, Yarmuth has disclosed his investment.

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