Today, the Committee on House Administration passed landmark legislation aimed at putting our elections squarely where they belong: back in the hands of voters.
The committee passed the Fair Elections Now Act (H.R. 6116/1826), legislation that would take members of Congress off the fundraising treadmill and let them focus on their constituents.
Chairman Bob Brady and his colleagues on the committee, Reps. Mike Capuano (D-Mass.), Susan Davis (D-Calif.), Charlie Gonzales (D-Texas), and Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), must all be commended for their leadership on passing this legislation today.
This is an historic vote, and would be the most sweeping reform legislation since Watergate.
The Fair Elections Now Act would allow candidates for Congress to run competitive campaigns for office by relying on small contributions from back home. Candidates would collect donations of $100 or less from residents of their state, which would then be matched four-to-one with Fair Elections funds. Fair Elections would be funded by the sale of unused broadcast spectrum, ensuring that in this time of debt and deficits, it wouldn't cost taxpayers a dime.
With Fair Elections, constituents don't have to wonder if their elected officials are standing up for them or their big money donors when casting their votes on Capitol Hill. Congress would be accountable to them, not wealthy donors or lobbyists.
Now that it's passed in committee, the legislation can head to the floor. To help our push for a floor vote before Congress adjourns just days from now, I've joined with the Campaign for Fair Elections in releasing new television ads that will air in several key Congressional districts praising lawmakers for supporting this legislation.
Every day, we see a steady stream of news reports of fundraisers with lobbyists, ongoing ethics investigations, and millions of dollars in outside secret spending. It is no wonder if we're angry ... or alienated.
The Fair Elections Now Act. Congress should make its passage a priority -- now.