Next up for the Senate? Another Shot at Campaign Finance Reform

By Jenny Schlesinger

Sep 21, 2010 5:48pm

ABC News’ Matthew Jaffe reports:

Now that the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal has been shot down and, with it, the Dream Act put off indefinitely, what’s up next for the Senate? Campaign finance reform. Democrats this week are going to make a last-minute push for the Disclose Act.

Jim Manley, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, tweeted today that the Senate will debate the bill tomorrow and vote on it Thursday.

Reid’s decision to take another stab at the measure comes on the heels of President Obama last Saturday ripping Republicans for blocking its passage. The bill, which passed the House on June 24, would make companies and special-interest groups identify themselves when funding political campaign ads, although certain exemptions were granted for unions and prominent groups such as the NRA and the Sierra Club. The legislation is a response to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling earlier this year that loosened limits on corporate spending in political campaigns.

“Republican leaders in Congress have so far said ‘no,” the President said in his weekly address. “They’ve blocked this bill from even coming up for a vote in the Senate. It’s politics at its worst.”

On July 27 Republicans blocked the Senate from proceeding to debate on the bill by the count of 57-41. However, Democrats were really only one vote short because Reid switched his vote to no for procedural reasons and Sen. Joe Lieberman missed the vote to attend a funeral. According to Sen. Chuck Schumer, Lieberman had told Reid that he would have voted for the bill.

That still means Democrats will have to convince a Republican to switch sides this time around. The three key moderate Republicans from New England often targeted by Democrats – Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts and Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine – all opposed the measure in July. Republicans have denounced it as a violation of first amendment rights and a political maneuver that favors Democrats by handicapping GOP groups.

In addition, Reid might also have to quell some unrest within his own party since some Democrats could be unhappy with his decision to work on legislation that has nothing to do with the economy and jobs growth only weeks before the November mid-terms.

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