Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Update on campaign finance reform and the US Senate … by gimleteye

Republican Senators allowed a debate to move forward yesterday on campaign finance reform, with zero chance that anything will materialize beyond the re-hashing of hardened positions: the GOP favors the Roberts' Supreme Court affirmation of unlimited campaign contributions as a matter of free speech and "corporations are people", and Democrats supporting a level playing field where the republic isn't for sale to the highest bidder.

It is a risk for Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader who -- depending on the outcome of November elections -- could become majority leader.

American voters are increasingly agitated by Congressional gridlock. Beneath the low esteem held by the public for Congress, though, campaign finance looms as a potential trigger for change. Senator McConnell weighs the question: will a debate now on polarized, partisan lines inflame the public more or less to the advantage of his party? Or, would denying the debate give Democrats more advantage? The GOP leadership decided they can make a better case for getting out their vote in November by rattling the cage of overreaching government and Democrats meddling with the Constitution.

But Democrats have the better case: campaign finance is broken and it has to be fixed. Who do you trust to fix it: the billionaires, their operatives and their shadow government?

From the website, Vox: "On Monday, the Senate began a floor debate on whether to amend the US Constitution to allow more regulation of political spending. Though the procedural vote that will lead to debate was 79 to 18, that lopsided margin masks a dim future for the proposed amendment.


The proposal, sponsored by Senator Tom Udall (D-NM), is intended to reverse recent Supreme Court rulings that have deregulated the campaign finance system, such as Citizens United and McCutcheon v. FEC. It states that both Congress and the states would "have power to regulate the raising and spending of money" on elections. Specifically, it would allow limits on outside spending in support of candidates, which the Court has struck down. You can read the amendment's full text here.

Though the Senate will debate the measure over the next few days, the term "debate" is somewhat of a misnomer. Positions on campaign finance are already quite polarized, so what will ensue is mainly a series of canned speeches highly unlikely to change any minds. Nearly every Senate Democrat supports the measure — 50 out of 55 are sponsors or cosponsors — but not a single Senate Republican does. Since a constitutional amendment requires a two-thirds vote in favor from each house of Congress, this means it's already certain to go down to defeat in the Senate. Furthermore, the measure has no support among the GOP's House majority. If by some miracle the amendment was approved by both houses of Congress, 38 states would then need to ratify it to put it into effect.


The mere fact that Republicans allowed the measure to reach the floor — rather than filibustering the motion to proceed — shows that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell doesn't mind spending several days talking about it. At the very least, he'd rather talk about this than various other political proposals Majority Leader Harry Reid could spend several days of floor time on. Republicans have been harshly critical of the measure, and have emphasized that if it passes, it's the first time the Bill of Rights will ever have been amended."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That Democrat "level" playing field includes SEIU, AFSCME, UAW, AFL-CIO, Tom Steyer and George Soros.
You would be more believable if you did not leave out all of the details in your rants.
Will you include Charlie Crist's signature of SB 2080 in 2009 that gave water management control to five people in secret, non-public meetings or will you continue to bash Rick Scott a'la Amy Sherman of the Herald?