What: All Issues : Making Government Work for Everyone, Not Just the Rich or Powerful : Campaign Finance Reform : (H.R. 5175) Legislation requiring organizations to report all campaign donations over $600 to the Federal Election Commission and prohibiting organizations with a federal government contract worth more than $10 million from working actively for a political candidate or party – On bringing to a final vote a resolution setting a time limit for floor debate and determining which amendments could be offered to the bill
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(H.R. 5175) Legislation requiring organizations to report all campaign donations over $600 to the Federal Election Commission and prohibiting organizations with a federal government contract worth more than $10 million from working actively for a political candidate or party – On bringing to a final vote a resolution setting a time limit for floor debate and determining which amendments could be offered to the bill
house Roll Call 385     Jun 24, 2010
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Progressive

This was a procedural vote on a resolution setting a time limit for debate and determining which amendments could be offered to campaign finance reform legislation requiring organizations to report all campaign donations over $600 to the Federal Election Commission and prohibiting organizations with a federal government contract worth more than $10 million from working actively for a political candidate or party. Under the bill’s new reporting requirements (applying to donations in excess of $600), independent organizations (such as advocacy groups) airing political ads would be required to make previously confidential information regarding their donors public.

If passed, this particular procedural motion -- known as the “previous question" -- effectively ends debate and brings the pending legislation to an immediate vote.

House Democratic leaders brought up H.R. 5175 in response to Supreme Court ruling on campaign finance law in January 2010. In that decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the federal government could not prohibit unions and corporations from spending money on behalf of or in opposition to political candidates.

Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) praised the underlying resolution: “During my time in Congress, I haven't had a single constituent say to me, `You know, Jim, I think there should be more special interest money in politics.' Obviously, the conservative activist judges that now make up the majority of the Supreme Court don't live in my district. Because in January, the court tossed aside decades of established law and legal precedent by ruling that corporations and unions can spend unlimited amounts of money in federal elections.”

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) criticized the bill and defended the Supreme Court’s ruling: “The Citizens United decision [the Supreme Court decision referenced above] struck down provisions of campaign finance law because of the unconstitutional restrictions on free speech, a right explicitly guaranteed by the First Amendment. The bill is simply a legislative workaround to Citizens United. The Supreme Court was very clear that prohibitions on full legal speech are unconstitutional and will only be a matter of time should this bill become law that it's struck down as well.”

The House agreed to motion ordering the previous question by a vote of 243-181. 243 Democrats voted “yea.” 173 Republicans and 8 Democrats voted “nay.” As a result, the House proceeded to a final vote on a resolution setting a time limit for debate and determining which amendments could be offered to campaign finance reform legislation requiring organizations to report all campaign donations over $600 to the Federal Election Commission and prohibiting organizations with a federal government contract worth more than $10 million from working actively for a political candidate or party.

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