The Web's Best Political News Summary: Feb. 7: Let's Get Workable:

"To kill the measure, Hastert and other opponents must win over some of the 43 Republicans who have supported soft-money bans before. Twenty Republicans signed the 'discharge petition.'"

"DeLay told reporters yesterday that the Shays-Meehan bill is 'probably going to pass,' although he said leaders hope to alter it first. Amendments conceivably could force lengthy and potentially fruitless negotiations with senators … Republicans spent several hours yesterday debating how to alter the … bill. Some suggested politically problematic amendments, such as banning donations from lobbyists while Congress is in session. Others proposed more modest changes to make the bill more palatable to Republicans."

"Shays defended his bill in Hastert's closed-door session, urging colleagues to 'vote your conscience.' But several Republicans told personal accounts of how changing campaign finance laws could jeopardize their reelection chances. 'Chris is making it very hard to vote your conscience when he's on every talk show with his friends saying if you're not corrupt, you'll vote for this,' Rep. Anne M. Northup (R-Ky.) said after the meeting."

"Meanwhile, Democratic supporters continued to target several black colleagues who say the bill would hamper the party's voter mobilization efforts aimed at blacks. Gephardt and newly installed Minority Whip Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) appealed individually to several black Democrats yesterday."

Roll Call reports out of the same closed-door House GOP meeting that alternative CFR bill co-sponsor Bob "Ney and DeLay are also raising the specter of Minority Leader Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.) becoming the next Speaker in order to pry away current GOP supporters of the Shays-Meehan bill. Both lawmakers told their Republican colleagues yesterday that Gephardt is only pushing the Shays-Meehan bill because the Missouri Democrat believes it will give his party an advantage heading into November's midterm elections. They argued that while Democrats can rely on labor unions to bring out Democratic voters, Republicans would be unable to counter that effort and must use their fundraising prowess to assemble a comparable get-out-the-vote network." ( http://www.rollcall.com/pages/news/00/2002/02/news0207a.html )

"Gephardt and other Democratic leaders, joined by Shays, Meehan, Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) and a host of government watchdog groups, have also stepped up their own lobbying efforts. Gephardt has focused his attention on a group of Democrats, described as less (sic) than 30 Members, who are either strongly opposed to Shays-Meehan or undecided."

"Gephardt is focusing most of his efforts on making sure that the Ney-Wynn bill fails, if he succeeds, it virtually ensures that Shays-Meehan will pass."

"With so much at stake on both sides, House GOP leaders have adopted a two-track strategy to kill the Shays-Meehan bill. First, they plan to exert pressure on GOP moderates in an attempt to weaken support for Shays-Meehan. They will also focus on any effort by the two lawmakers to modify their bill as proof that Democrats have not been genuine in their desire to see the legislation enacted."

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