Speeches

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today Senator John McCain spook on the floor of the United States Senate regarding Campaign Finance reform, and gave the following remarks: "Mr. President, my colleagues and I have come to the floor this morning to briefly discuss the issue of campaign finance reform. It is our hope that during the August recess, discussions will progress and a plan developed to bring campaign finance reform before the Senate no later than the end of September. "Almost daily I have approached the Majority Leader and told him that we must move forward on campaign finance reform. The Leader has been exceedingly gracious and shown much patience in listening to my missives. I want to thank the Majority Leader for his time and hope that soon, we can come to an agreement for floor time to debate campaign finance reform. "But I also understand that the Leader is under great pressure to move many bills, and may feel constrained to commit at this time. I understand that situation. The Leader has to deal with the wishes of 99 other Senators. However, my colleagues and I feel compelled to put the Senate on notice that the time to act on this matter is rapidly expiring. "We believe that we must begin the debate on campaign finance reform no later than the end of September, and therefore, if we cannot come to some agreement to bring the bill up freestanding, with an up or down vote on the bill itself, we will feel compelled to bring the bill to the floor by offering it as an amendment to some unrelated measure. "This is not an approach we relish. But we realize that we may have no other choice. "Delay no longer serves any purpose. Since before the last election, talk of campaign finance reform has dominated the American conversation. The public has a right to have this issue debated. Members have recognized this fact, and as proof of that recognition, have introduced over 70 campaign finance bills. "I recognize that many of those bills have laudable features. I want to sit down and work with the sponsor's of those bills. And I further recognize that McCain-Feingold is far from perfect. As I have stated on numerous occasions, we have only two fundamental principles that are non- negotiable:" "One, we must seek to level the playing field between challengers and incumbents; and "Two, we must seek to lessen the influence of money in elections. "All else is negotiable. "Some of our colleagues in the House have begun discussing a scaled down version of McCain- Feingold. I welcome those talks and want to state that if that is what is necessary to change our electoral system, then let's move in that direction. "Fundamentally changing the electoral system in order to restore the faith of the American people in our democratic government is our goal. We are open to compromise and negotiation. But we must act soon. It is our duty. "Last week the Economist published an editorial entitled "The Fear of Foreign Cash". Although the title is slightly misleading, I would like to quote from this editorial. "Mr. President, the Economist is exactly right. 'Should anyone really care how good clean American money flows through the machine of American democracy?' Well, yes, gentlemen, someone should. "Yes, we should and must. And we will have the opportunity to demonstrate our understanding of this issue when we return from recess." # # #