Campaign finance bill falls to filibuster

July 16, 2012 at 8:09 PM
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WASHINGTON, July 16 (UPI) -- A bill providing for stricter campaign donation reporting died in the U.S. Senate Monday when Democrats could not defeat a Republican filibuster.

The Senate voted 51-44 in favor of moving forward on the Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light On Spending in Elections Act, but 60 votes were required to break the filibuster. The vote fell along party lines, The Hill reported.

The bill, sponsored by Democrats in an attempt to reverse the U.S. Supreme Court ruling allowing virtually unlimited political donations, would require reporting of campaign spending totaling more than $10,000 by companies, unions and other organizations.

Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., filed a motion to reconsider the vote. The Hill said Democrats hope another vote on the measure can be held Tuesday, and planned to keep debating the bill into the evening Monday to draw attention to the issue.

"Putting an end to secret election spending by special interests is an essential step in protecting middle class priorities," Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I. -- the lead sponsor of the measure -- said in a statement following Monday's vote. "For that reason, we are committed to continuing the debate on the DISCLOSE Act late into the night and asking for a second vote tomorrow if need be."

Republicans said Democrats were trying to score political points by forcing a vote they knew would fail.

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called the vote "an ultimate waste of Senate time," and accused Democrats of inaction on extending tax rates enacted during the administration of former President George W. Bush, which are scheduled to expire Dec. 31.

"For 40 straight months of unemployment above 8 percent ... and our friends in the majority want us to pass this bill that everyone from the ACLU to the NRA is opposed to," McConnell said of the DISCLOSE Act.

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