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Senator McCain Forces Vote on Campaign Finance Bill

July 20, 1999

Senator McCain Forces Vote on Campaign Finance Bill

Presidential candidate and U.S. Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), frustrated that his party?s leadership has refused to bring up the McCain-Feingold bipartisan campaign finance reform bill (S.26), took matters into his own hands today by attaching it to another bill and thereby forcing it onto the Senate floor.

McCain recently — and accurately — called our campaign finance system “nothing less than an influence-peddling scheme in which both parties compete to stay in office by selling the country to the highest bidder.” The McCain-Feingold bill would begin to clean up the system by banning unlimited contributions of “soft money” to political parties by corporations, unions and wealthy individuals, and regulating campaign ads masquerading as “issue ads.”

McCain has made this issue the centerpiece of his presidential campaign, forcing rivals George W. Bush and Elizabeth Dole to come forward with their own suggestions for curbing soft money. This week campaign finance reform will take center stage in the U.S. Senate. McCain has called for an orderly process, including amendments, that could increase support for the bill. An initial cloture vote to cut off a minority filibuster and allow a fair up-or-down vote on the bill including amendments could come as early as Thursday.

Currently, 52 out of 100 Senators support McCain-Feingold. While eight more Republican votes would be necessary to overcome the expected filibuster, initial movement by even two or three Republicans could impress the Republican leadership and provide the momentum that would result in significant legislation this year.

That?s why it is so important that Senators vote against a filibuster and for a fair debate and up-or-down vote on the legislation.

Most likely Republican “swing” Senators to oppose a filibuster are: DeWine and Voinovich (Ohio), Hutchinson (Ark.), Lugar (Ind.), Hagel (Nebr.), Brownback (Kan.), Roth (Del.), and Abraham (Mich.)