We did it!
Yes, thanks to the many concerned citizens who called and/or emailed their Senators, blogged and/or talked their friends into doing the same, etc., the DISCLOSE Act — which passed the House in June — did NOT pass the Senate (S.3628, aka S.3295) this past Tuesday. It seems that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid couldn’t find enough ‘yea’ votes to push it through. (I feel so bad for him….)
Feelings about the bill are pretty much split along party lines. Democrats are all for it, especially incumbents looking at the November elections. Republicans recognize the highly-charged political motivations behind the DISCLOSE Act, which would place radical restrictions/demands on the free speech of companies & organizations who want to run independent political ads. (Except for the special exemptions made for certain large, Left-leaning groups <cough!AARPHumaneSocietyBigLabor>, as well as the NRA.)
As Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) put it in KCCI’s article:
This is a direct product of the Pelosi-Democrat machine,” Grassley said, going on to claim Democrats have “a desire not to have a full discussion of political issues.”
The Republican Senators were filibustering, so Reid called for “cloture”. This is a motion that, if passed by the necessary three-fifths of all Senators “duly chosen and sworn”, would end all debate (and, therefore, the filibuster) on the bill. (Well, technically, up to 30 hours more debate may still follow a vote in favor of cloture.) At that point, they could proceed to vote on the bill itself.
Two Senators were absent — Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Joe Ensign (R-NV) — and, thus, couldn’t vote. So, in order to get cloture, I guess Reid thought at least two of the RINOs had been convinced to vote in favor. (Or, maybe he didn’t realize Lieberman wasn’t there and thought he only needed one RINO vote?) If so, he was wrong.
The final vote was 57 to 41. Without Ensign present, this means that a Democrat voted against cloture! Who? As it turns out, it was Reid himself! At the last minute, he actually switched his vote to ‘No’! This is being called a “procedural tactic” that allows him to bring up the DISCLOSE Act again in the future.
I’m not sure I understand it, especially since I’m not up-to-par on Senate voting procedures, but here’s what I think may have happened. Before the final tally came in, Reid realized that, if they did invoke cloture, he might not have the votes he needed to pass the bill. If the bill was voted down, it would be time-consuming to get another, similar bill written and on the docket for both House and Senate. (And, the Dems really want to pass it ASAP.) So, he scrambled and voted ‘nay’ on cloture to make sure it failed, thereby leaving himself the option of reviving the current bill.
So, the DISCLOSE Act is off the table. For now.
But, the bill can be brought before the Senate again, and you better believe it will be. In fact, rumor has it that Reid and his buddies — e.g., Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Russ Feingold (D-WI), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Evan Bayh (D-IN) and Al Franken (D-MN), the bill’s co-sponsors in the Senate — are planning to make it a campaign issue starting in September. Furthermore, Schumer promised it would be brought up “again and again and again until we pass it.”
The message is, of course, that the DISCLOSE Act is not gone for good. We conservatives (and anyone else concerned about this unconstitutional bill) cannot rest on this issue, because it will keep coming up. It may get a name change or attempt to be snuck in as an amendment or rider on another bill, but it will return. So, keep your eyes & ears open, and keep this link handy to contact your Senators about this and any other bill that threatens our freedoms. The smart(er) ones are listening.