Campaign finance bill closer to vote
By Dana Bash
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Supporters of campaign finance reform are closer to forcing a vote in the House of Representatives, and some believe the Enron scandal could help their cause.
A near-majority of House members have signed a petition calling for the bill, stalled in committee since summer, to come to a vote on the floor.
Many of them likely had failed energy-trader Enron in mind when they signed the petition, said an aide to Rep. Marty Meehan, D-Massachusetts, the bill's chief Democratic sponsor.
"We're at 215 (signatures) now and many members -- Republican and Democrat -- are taking a fresh look (at the bill) in light of the Enron scandal," said Meehan aide Will Keyser.
Enron donated millions of dollars to candidates of both parties before it filed for bankruptcy December 2.
The bill's proponents say they are confident they can secure three more signatures on the petition to get the minimum 218 signatures needed to bring the bill to the floor.
The House has 435 members. The document, called a recall petition, must have a one-name majority -- 218 signatures -- to be effective. The petition can be signed only when the House is in session, which will not be until January 23.
Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Florida, has said she would sign, becoming the 215th name on the petition, said her spokesman.
Rep. Richard Neal, D-Massachusetts, who usually opposes discharge petitions but supports campaign finance reform, promised to be the 218th signature if his name were needed, Neal's spokesman said.
The bill's proponents say they may be able to corral two more signatures from moderate Republicans who support the finance reform but are reluctant to buck the GOP leadership.
Campaign finance reform passed the Senate last summer, but stalled in the House in July after Democrats accused Republican of political maneuvering that would have guaranteed the bill's failure. Since then, it has languished in committee.
According to House rules, a discharge petition with 218 signatures is the only way to get legislation on the floor.
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