What: All Issues : Making Government Work for Everyone, Not Just the Rich or Powerful : Campaign Finance Reform : (H.R. 1) On an amendment prohibiting the use of funds provided by a “continuing resolution” (which funded government agencies and programs for the remainder of the year) for carrying out activities of the Presidential Election Campaign Fund, which provides public funding for presidential candidates and political parties’ nominating conventions.
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(H.R. 1) On an amendment prohibiting the use of funds provided by a “continuing resolution” (which funded government agencies and programs for the remainder of the year) for carrying out activities of the Presidential Election Campaign Fund, which provides public funding for presidential candidates and political parties’ nominating conventions.
house Roll Call 81     Feb 17, 2011
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Conservative

This was a vote on an amendment by Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) prohibiting the use of funds provided by a “continuing resolution” (which funded government agencies and programs for the remainder of the year) for carrying out activities of the Presidential Election Campaign Fund, which provides public funding for presidential candidates and political parties’ nominating conventions. This amendment was offered to a continuing resolution funding the federal government through September 2011, and cutting $61 billion in federal funding for many government programs.

When filing tax returns, taxpayers have the option of devoting $3 of what they pay to the Presidential Election Campaign Fund (PECF). PECF then uses this money to help finance presidential candidates’ campaigns (provided that those candidate agree to abide by campaign spending limits) and political parties’ nominating conventions.

Cole urged support for his amendment: “If signed into law, it [the amendment] will save $617 million over 10 years…. today's amendment is a down payment on that goal. CBO scored this amendment as saving $38 million in budgetary authority and $40 million in outlays for fiscal year 2011. We all know on this floor we need to cut spending….we can start today by canceling political welfare for politicians and political party conventions. This is an easy amendment that I urge all members to support.”

Rep. Jose Serrano (D-NY) opposed the amendment: “It's interesting that the gentleman calls it political welfare for elected officials. We should remember why this was created and when it was created. This was created after Watergate [the political scandal which eventually led to President Nixon’s resignation in 1974], and it was created as an understanding that we needed to move more and more to a situation where folks with a lot of money would not go around controlling our elections. The gentleman calls it political welfare for presidential candidates, but, in fact, without this, it is totally in the hands of people making donations; whereas, here, it is the average American citizen who gets a chance to donate to this campaign.”

The House agreed to this amendment by a vote of 247-175. Voting “yea” were 234 Republicans and 13 Democrats. 174 Democrats and 1 Republican voted “nay.” As a result, the House agreed to an amendment prohibiting the use of funds provided by a continuing resolution for carrying out activities of the Presidential Election Campaign Fund, which provides public funding for presidential campaigns.

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