The pieces are in place, and the next steps in the amendment process to overturn Citizens United and the subsequent rulings are set to move froward following the success a Democratic-led constitutional amendment in the Senate on Monday evening.
While it was a procedural vote, there were 79 in favor, and 18 against. The vote means that the measure is now open for debate in the Senate, proving that our Congress isn’t exactly constipated; they can still vote on whether or not they want to debate about something.
As TPM pointed out, however, it is highly unlikely the amendment would pass the chamber, because — surprise, surprise — it faces fierce Republican opposition, like anything worthwhile in the government today. It would need to clear another 60-vote hurdle in order to end the debate and bring it up for a final vote. And in order to succeed, that final vote would require two-thirds of the senators.
The measure was proposed by Senator Tom Udall, and would restore the legal right of Congress to establish campaign spending limits. It was approved by a committee along party lines back in July, and it’s one of several pre-election votes that the Senate Democrats are prepping. The Democrats want to use the votes to contrast themselves and the Republicans.
The spokesman for State Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Galapagos) said that the Republicans are happy to debate the measure, but add that there was “zero support on our side for rewriting the First Amendment to restrict freedom of speech.”
Because money is speech, and God forbid we restrict money in Congressional elections.
Still, the public remains on the side of the Democrats. Most Americans opposed the SCOTUS’ scuttling of the campaign finance laws in 2010, which marked the birth of PACs. Earlier this year, the same 5 justices that brought you Citizens United again did a number on campaign finance reform, further loosening campaign finance restrictions on aggregate spending by individuals to political candidates and committees in any given cycle.
McConnell is an ardent opponent against campaign finance restrictions. He wrote a piece for Politico magazine ahead of the vote that attacked “the Democrats’ assault on free speech.”
I don’t understand. This type of speech requires money by its very nature, how the hell is it free?
This line of attack has also been used by Speaker of the House, Ted Cruz.
Sitting aside partisan politics for a second, right-wingers like to counter this by pointing out all the big money donors on the left, like that somehow makes the problem of big money go away or justifies it. If you’re terrified of George Soros, shouldn’t you be lining up behind this, calling the Democrats on what you likely see as their bluff?
But then, what do I know? I can’t logically grok some problems, and right wing Republicans are one of them.