Momentum Growing as Campaign Finance Amendment Clears Senate Committee
by Lukas Autenried, 7/17/2014
- The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow Congress and the states to regulate money in elections.
- The full Senate is expected to vote on the amendment later this fall.
- An identical version of the proposed amendment has since been introduced in the House.
On July 10, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to support S.J. Res. 19, a proposed constitutional amendment that would restore the ability of Congress and the states to regulate money in elections. The amendment was introduced by Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) amid growing concerns over the influence of money in politics, particularly following the Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.
The committee's vote to approve the proposed amendment marked an important milestone and opened the door for the proposal to be considered on the Senate floor. Marge Baker of People for the American Way commented:
This vote is an important step forward for the movement to take back our democracy from billionaires and corporations. It's also good news for the overwhelming majority of ordinary Americans who want to see our elected officials loosen big money's grip on our democracy.
Sens. Bill Nelson (D-FL), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) are the most recent cosponsors of the proposed amendment, bringing the total number of cosponsors to 48. Those numbers bode well for a full Senate floor vote this fall, as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has promised.
The amendment also cleared a hurdle in the House of Representatives on July 15 as Reps. Ted Deutch (D-FL), Donna Edwards (D-MD), and Jim McGovern (D-MA) introduced an identical version. The Democracy for All Amendment (H.J. Res. 119) has been referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary for consideration. To date, the House version of the amendment has 108 cosponsors.
During a July 15 press conference, Deutch said, "The sad truth is that for most Americans, their influence in our government and their faith in this democracy have diminished each time the Supreme Court has ruled that more money can come into our elections."
As momentum continues to grow in support of curbing the influence of money in politics, we welcome the debate. Our government should protect the democratic process and ensure that elected officials listen to everyone, not just wealthy interests and secret donors. Be sure to share your views on the issue with your members of Congress.