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Huffington Post: Tom Udall To Introduce Senate Campaign Finance, Voting Rights And Ethics Reform Bill

Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) is leading the effort by Senate Democrats to introduce a companion bill to a major political and electoral reform bill introduced by House Democrats on Jan. 4.

“This was the message that Democrats ran on and won in 2018 ― fixing our broken democracy ― and we intend to keep the promise to the American people,” Udall said.

The Senate companion bill will largely mirror the proposed sweeping reforms of the House’s For the People Act on voting rights, campaign finance, disclosure and ethics. The bills will differ slightly on campaign financing proposals for each chamber. The Senate’s public financing system would be based on Sen. Dick Durbin’s Fair Elections Now Act, which provides participating candidates with grants and matching funds for small donations.

Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.), the House bill’s chief sponsor, announced on Thursday that the For the People Act has been co-sponsored by 221 Democrats ― enough to pass in the House.

The chances of Udall’s bill passing the Senate are slim to none, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) not only refuses to bring House Democratic bills to a vote but also is the most vociferous opponent in politics of campaign finance reforms.

Udall said he believes that Democrats can find ways to force votes on the package on the Senate floor in spite of McConnell’s assured intransigence. This could take the form of asking for consent to vote on the floor, putting a privileged motion to a vote or offering the proposal during the so-called vote-a-ramas that occur for amendments to budget legislation.