McConnell skewers Dem plan as ‘shockingly bad’

 

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellOvernight Healthcare: Dems dig in over Zika funding Business groups ramp up pressure to fill Ex-Im board Senate Dems: No August break without Zika deal MORE (Ky.) slammed Democrats on Tuesday for trying to amend the Constitution to limit political spending and vowed the effort will “never” succeed.

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“The First Amendment is about empowering the people, not the government. The proposed amendment has it exactly backwards. It says that Congress and the states can pass whatever law they want abridging political speech — the speech that is at the very core of the First Amendment,” McConnell said in rare testimony by a Senate leader before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

McConnell’s remarks followed Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidOvernight Finance: Obama signs Puerto Rico bill | Trump steps up attacks on trade | Dodd-Frank backers cheer 'too big to fail' decision | New pressure to fill Ex-Im board Iowa poll: Clinton up 14 on Trump, Grassley in tight race with Dem Lynch meeting with Bill Clinton creates firestorm for email case MORE’s (D-Nev.) testimony before the panel. Reid called on colleagues to adopt a constitutional amendment sponsored by Sens. Tom UdallTom UdallThe Hill's 12:30 Report Overnight Energy: Senate spending bill takes aim at EPA rules Senate spending bill trims EPA spending, blocks regs MORE (D-N.M.) and Michael BennetMichael BennetCruz-backed candidate wins GOP primary in Colorado Colorado GOP Senate race to unseat Dem incumbent is wide open Ted Cruz chooses sides in Colorado Senate primary MORE (D-Colo.) that would empower Congress to regulate campaign fundraising.  

McConnell said the proposal does not have the slightest chance of passing.

“Now, everyone on this Committee knows this proposal is never going to pass Congress. This is a political exercise and that’s all it is,” he said.

McConnell said Reid and other Democratic leaders are pushing the amendment motivate liberal voters who often have lower rates of turnout during midterm elections.

“The political nature of this exercise should not obscure how shockingly bad this proposal is,” he said.

He emphasized that former Sens. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), leading Senate liberals of the past, opposed efforts to amend the Constitution to rein in fundraising activities.

“Our colleagues who voted against those proposals were right then. And I respectfully submit that they would be wrong now to support the latest proposal to weaken the First Amendment,” he said.