President Obama called out Senate Republicans on Monday for holding up a vote on a contentious piece of campaign finance legislation.
Senate Democrats plan to vote on cloture for the Disclose Act on Tuesday, though it remains unclear whether they have the 60 votes necessary to end debate.
“You’d think that making these reforms would be a matter of common sense,” Obama said in brief remarks from the Rose Garden. “But of course this is Washington in 2010, and the Republican leadership in the Senate is once again using every tactic and manuever they can to prevent the Disclose Act from even coming up for a vote.”
The legislation was crafted in response to a Supreme Court decision that opened the door to unlimited corporate and union spending in elections. The bill would require such groups to disclose their role in campaign spending, namely advertisements.
“A vote to oppose these reforms is nothing less than to allow a corporate and special interest takeover of our elections,” Obama said.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said a campaign finance bill should not be a priority with the economy still struggling.
“The mere suggestion that a bill designed to save politicians’ jobs should take precedent over helping millions of Americans find work is an embarrassing indictment of Democrats’ priorities,” McConnell said in a statement.
The legislation exempts nonprofits with memberships of above 500,000 from the disclosure requirements. Republicans have argued the exemptions aid Democratic-friendly groups. (The NRA, which mainly supports Republicans, was one of the exempted groups.)
“The Disclose Act seeks to protect unpopular Democrat politicians by silencing their critics and exempting their campaign supporters from an all out attack on the First Amendment,” McConnell said.
The legislation passed the House last month by a vote of 219-206. Two House Republicans supported the legislation.