Democrats Appear Short of Votes for DISCLOSE Act Pro-Life Groups Oppose
by Steven Ertelt
July 27, 2010
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Democrats in the Senate appear short of the number of votes they need to pass the DISCLOSE Act later today. Leading pro-life groups oppose the legislation because they say it would place stringent limits on their ability to communicate to the public about legislation and elections.
Senate Republicans are filibustering the legislation and Democrats plan to hold a cloture vote this afternoon where they need 60 votes to be able to stop the filibuster and move towards a vote on the bill itself.
However, they are having a hard time holding their caucus together, as Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska, who mostly votes pro-life, appears to be opposed.
And Democrats have not been able to pick off pro-abortion Republicans who sometimes defect to their side on legislation.
Sen. Susan Collins of Maine announced her opposition to the bill on Monday, in what is seen as the potential final blow preventing Democrats from getting the magic number of 60.
The bill would provide a clear and unfair advantage to unions while either shutting other organizations out of the election process or subjecting them to onerous reporting requirements that would not apply to unions, said Collins spokesman Kevin Kelley, according to a Politico report.
He added: Sen. Collins believes that it is ironic that a bill aimed at curtailing special interests in the election process provides so many carve-outs and exemptions that favor some grass-roots organizations over others. This, too, is simply unfair.
Collins joins Scott Brown of Massachusetts, who announced his opposition to the bill weeks ago, and Olympia Snowe of Maine, who told Politico she doesn’t think the bill will pass.
Sen. Chuck Schumer, the pro-abortion Democrat from New York, has made changes to the bill designed to engender more support, and he sounded cautiously optimistic on Monday.
We’re working very hard on getting a Republican. You never know until you call a vote, Schumer said.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Republicans have no plan to back down.
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. In the process, the authors of the bill have decided to trade our constitutional rights away in a backroom deal that makes the Cornhusker Kickback look like a model of legislative transparency.
As LifeNews.com reported on Monday, National Right to Life Committee has been lobbying against the bill and the Family Research Council joins it.
Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, says the bill is nothing more than an attempt by pro-abortion Democrats to hold onto their congressional seats in an election cycle
"This past weekend Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Obama told a gathering of the most hard-edged liberal activists that they need to pull out all stops to win this November so that they can push more of their damaging agenda on the American people," he said.
"Fearful of what Election Day could mean for their extreme ideology, a number of liberals in Congress are pushing S. 3628, the DISCLOSE Act, which amounts to Democrat incumbent protection legislation disguised as campaign finance reform," Perkins added.
Instead of addressing the problems that may be found in some election campaigns, Perkins says the Disclose Act "seeks to add to the already onerous burdens placed on organizations that act within the law by going after their donors and exposing them in public forums."
Last week, the National Right to Life Committee sent senators a letter characterizing the bill as "a blatant political attack on the First Amendment rights of NRLC, our state affiliates, and our members and donors."
The letter advises members that the limits are so problematic, NRLC is forced to include a roll call of the vote in the annual ratings of Congress it provides to millions of pro-life voters.
The bill would codify a vague and expansive definition of express advocacy under which any expenditure for a public communication that takes a position on a candidates character, qualification, or fitness for office might be deemed to be an independent expenditure and therefore subject to numerous burdensome and intrusive regulations.
"The bill applies this vague standard not only to broadcast ads very near elections, but to any public communication broadcast or print at any time of the year, and even to paid ads on the Internet," the letter complains.
Related web sites:
Family Research Council – https://www.frc.org
National Right to Life – https://www.nrlc.org
NRLC letter – https://www.nrlc.org/FreeSpeech/NRLCLetterToSenateOnDISCLOSEAct.pdf
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