Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Senate Votes to Increase Corporate Control over Party Conventions by Unanimous Consent

Today, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) asked for unanimous consent to pass H.R. 2019, the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act. The rest of the Senate was happy to oblige.

The Kids First Research Act doesn't actually increase funding for kids or research on kids. Rather, it aims to end public funding for presidential nominating conventions, further breaking an already broken public financing system.

Here's Common Cause on the legislation:
“This bill takes a cynical approach to two serious problems,” said Common Cause President Miles Rapoport. “First, it strengthens the hold of millionaire donors, corporations, trade groups and other special interests on our political parties and their candidates. Those big donors will swoop in to cover convention expenses now absorbed by public funds, and they’ll extract all manner of special favors in return.”
The legislation also falsely purports to divert the $36 million now available every four years for conventions to support research into childhood diseases, Rapoport said. In fact, that money would be appropriated through the normal congressional review process, with no guarantee that it would wind up helping sick kids.
“Rather than further dismantling our broken presidential public financing system, and strengthening the power of big money donors in the bargain, Congress and the administration should focus on fixing the system and extending it to congressional races so that all candidates in 2016 will want to use it,” Rapoport said.
As the public funds go away, the private funds rush in. And I'm sure that companies like Exxon Mobile, Bank of America, Pfizer, and Comcast will be happy to make up the difference. In many cases, they already support the conventions. This makes matters even worse. 
The fact that it passed without even a roll call vote in the Senate is telling and disappointing, given that the majority of the House Democratic caucus--including the leadership--opposed it when it came to a vote in December.

On December 11, 2013, the House passed the bill 295 to 103.

102 Democrats voted against it. Only 72 voted for it. (In case you were wondering, the sole Republican opponent was Georgia's Paul Broun.)

Here were the 102 House Democrats who stood up for public financing:

Rob Andrews (NJ-01)
Xavier Becerra (CA-34)
Earl Blumenauer (OR-03)
Bob Brady (PA-01)
Corinne Brown (FL-05)
Lois Capps (CA-24)
Tony Cárdenas (CA-29)
Andre Carson (IN-07)
Judy Chu (CA-27)
David Cicilline (RI-01)
Lacy Clay (MO-01)
Emanuel Cleaver (MO-05)
James Clyburn (SC-06)
Steve Cohen (TN-09)
Gerry Connolly (VA-11)
Joe Crowley (NY-14)
Danny Davis (IL-07)
Susan Davis (CA-53)
Diana DeGette (CO-01)
Rosa DeLauro (CT-03)
John Dingell (MI-12)
Lloyd Doggett (TX-35)
Donna Edwards (MD-04)
Keith Ellison (MN-05)
Eliot Engel (NY-17)
Anna Eshoo (CA-18)
Sam Farr (CA-20)
Lois Frankel (FL-22)
Raul Grijalva (AZ-03)
Luis Gutiérrez (IL-04)
Janice Hahn (CA-44)
Brian Higgins (NY-26)
Ruben Hinojosa (TX-15)
Rush Holt (NJ-12)
Mike Honda (CA-17)
Steny Hoyer (MD-05)
Jared Huffman (CA-02)
Steve Israel (NY-03)
Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08)
Hank Johnson (GA-04)
Eddie Johnson (TX-30)
Marcy Kaptur (OH-09)
Robin Kelly (IL-02)
Joe Kennedy (MA-04)
Dan Kildee (MI-5)
Jim Langevin (RI-02)
Rick Larsen (WA-02)
John Larson (CT-01)
Sander Levin (MI-09)
Zoe Lofgren (CA-19)
Alan Lowenthal (CA-47)
Nita Lowey (NY-17)
Ben Luján (NM-03)
Carolyn Maloney (NY-12)
Doris Matsui (CA-06)
Betty McCollum (MN-04)
Jim McGovern (MA-02)
Mike Michaud (ME-02)
George Miller (CA-11)
Jim Moran (VA-08)
Jerry Nadler (NY-10)
Grace Napolitano (CA-32)
Gloria Negrette McLeod (CA-35)
Rick Nolan (MN-08)
Beto O'Rourke (TX-16)
Frank Pallone (NJ-06)
Bill Pascrell (NJ-09)
Donald Payne, Jr. (NJ-10)
Nancy Pelosi (CA-12)
Ed Perlmutter (CO-07)
Chellie Pingree (ME-01)
Mark Pocan (WI-02)
David Price (NC-04)
Mike Quigley (IL-05)
Cedric Richmond (LA-02)
Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40)
Bobby Rush (IL-01)
Linda Sánchez (CA-38)
Loretta Sanchez (CA-46)
John Sarbanes (MD-03)
Jan Schakowsky (IL-09)
David Scott (GA-13)
Jose Serrano (NY-15)
Albio Sires (NJ-08)
Louise Slaughter (NY-25)
Jackie Speier (CA-14)
Eric Swalwell (CA-15)
Mark Takano (CA-41)
Mike Thompson (CA-05)
Bennie Thompson (MS-02)
John Tierney (MA-06)
Dina Titus (NV-01)
Paul Tonko (NY-20)
Chris Van Hollen (MD-08)
Juan Vargas (CA-51)
Filemon Vela (TX-34)
Nydia Velázquez (NY-07)
Pete Visclosky (IN-01)
Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Henry Waxman (CA-33)
Frederica Wilson (FL-24)

Names like Yvette Clarke, John Conyers, Elijah Cummings, Barbara Lee, John Lewis, and Maxine Waters don't show up on that list simply because they weren't there for the vote.

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