Wednesday, July 28, 2010

GOP Filibuster Succeeds In Blocking Campaign Finance Reform


Yesterday while the House was debating Dennis Kucinich's War Powers Act resolution on Pakistan and then voting on Obama's Afghanistan war supplemental, Senate Republicans-- yes, every single one of them, including supposed "moderates" Olympia Snowe (who called it "premature"), Susan Collins and Scott Brown-- were busy guaranteeing that the wealth of the Military Industrial Complex would continue to trump the will of the people. Democrats were unable to defeat a GOP filibuster of the DISCLOSE Act (S. 3628, which would amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to prohibit foreign influence in Federal elections, to prohibit government contractors from making expenditures with respect to such elections, and to establish additional disclosure requirements with respect to spending in such elections.) Taking big corporate cash out of elections is the last thing Republicans want and cloture failed, 57 Democrats voting YES and all 40 Republicans present voting NO (joined by Harry Reid so he can bring it up again). Neither Lieberman nor Ensign voted; Lieberman says he'll vote for it if Reid brings it up again. Ensign certainly won't-- but without a Republican crossing the aisle this crucial reform bill won't get by the filibuster. Snowe is doing a strip tease on this, promising that if the Democrats weaken it enough she may vote for it (and, once again, look like a hero to undiscerning Mainers).
The failure comes one day after President Obama held a Rose Garden press conference to urge Senate passage of the Disclose Act.

“You’d think that making these reforms would be a matter of common sense,” Obama said Monday. “But, of course, this is Washington in 2010, and the Republican leadership in the Senate is once again using every tactic and maneuver they can to prevent the Disclose Act from even coming up for a vote.”

Ahead of the vote, Schumer made changes to the legislation to address Republican concerns.

He eliminated a carve-out that would have exempted labor unions from reporting fund transfers between affiliates.
But that did not satisfy GOP holdouts. Despite the failure of the vote, Schumer promised that Democrats would hold additional cloture votes until the legislation passes.

"And we will go back at this bill again and again and again until we pass it," he said before the vote. "It's that vital, not to Democrats, not to Republicans, but to the future of people's faith in the functioning of this government."

Schumer did not specify when another vote would take place. Asked by The Hill if he is open to making changes to the bill, the New York senator replied, "Yes."

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), a strong supporter of the bill, compared the failed vote to a series of failed votes on the financial reform bill preceding its final passage earlier this month.

"I think this is not unlike what we saw with Wall Street reform, where we brought it up and we lost, and we brought it up, then it went down. But ultimately the public was so outraged that our friends on the other side saw the light and we were able to consider the bill," he said. "I think that's exactly what's going to happen here."

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) indicated, despite the setback, that Democrats still want the bill passed before the November midterms.

“What we are trying to do is make sure that when Americans go to the polls this fall ... they have some sense of who paid for [corporate- and union-backed political ads]," he said.

Political experts have said the bill needs to be signed into law by August in order to affect the 2010 election. If the Senate passes a version with Schumer’s changes, it would need to be reconciled with the House version. And the House is scheduled to adjourn Friday for the summer recess.

Pompous closet queen Mitch McConnell (R-KY) called the bill “a transparent attempt to rig the fall election.” Imagine rigging the vote so that democracy becomes effective and so that foreign corporations can't buy U.S. elections. Sharron Angle, the GOP candidate for Senate from Nevada, was eager to make sure everyone knows she opposes reform. Her spokesperson, when asked about the legislation:
Sharron Angle supports the First Amendment, and I find it astonishing that Harry Reid's priority in Washington is to attack our First Amendment at a time when his home state of Nevada leads the nation in unemployment, home foreclosures, and bankruptcies.

You maybe expected something different?

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