I recently introduced an amendment at the Senate Budget Committee. It was pretty simple. It asked my Senate colleagues to begin the process of overturning the disastrous Supreme Court ruling on Citizens United, and to bring transparency and disclosure to the political process. The link to that debate on the amendment is here.
Here's what I asked my Senate colleagues to consider:
Are we comfortable with an American political system which is being dominated by a handful of billionaires?
Are we a nation that prides ourselves on one-person, one-vote, or do we tell ordinary Americans you've got one vote but the Koch brothers can spend hundreds of millions of dollars?
Do we want a political system in which a handful of billionaires can buy members of the United States Congress?
Who are those members of Congress elected with the help of billionaires going to be representing? Do you think they're going to be representing the middle class and working families?"
The answers seem clear to me. Unless the campaign financing system is reformed, the U.S. Congress will become paid employees of the people who pay for their campaigns - the billionaire class. Needless to say, not everyone on the Committee agreed.
It was an interesting and informative debate. Not one Republican supported the amendment and it lost by a 12-10 vote. I intend to offer it again this week on the floor of the Senate.