Rep. Gregg Harper, the bills sponsor, said ending public financing for presidential elections would save $480 million over five years.
The House voted today to end taxpayer financing of presidential elections.
In a 235-190 vote, the House approved a measure to terminate the Presidential Election Campaign Fund and shut down the Election Assistance Commission, a national clearinghouse on the mechanics of voting.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said the bill has no chance in the Senate, harshly criticizing House Republicans for advancing it.
“Instead of making it so it’s easier for people to vote, they want to do everything they can to make it easier to make it harder for people to vote. I don’t understand this,” Reid said. “They want to have as few people to vote as possible.”
Supporters of the bill say termination of the two programs would eliminate unnecessary government spending and help reduce the deficit.
Citing Congressional Budget Office figures, bill sponsor Rep. Gregg Harper said ending taxpayer financing of presidential elections and the election commission would reduce the deficit by $199 million immediately and by $480 million over five years.
“If we do not eliminate some programs, then a $15 trillion debt will be our decline into a European-style financial crisis,” the Mississippi Republican said.
The measure would get rid of a checkoff option on federal income tax returns, the proceeds of which go into a presidential election fund, and return any unused money to the Treasury. The Federal Election Commission would take up some of the EAC’s functions once terminated.
Taxpayer financing of presidential elections was established after the Watergate scandal. Although President Barack Obama opted out of the public financing system for his general election campaign in 2008, he opposed the attempt to end it, saying it should be fixed instead.
From left, Lisa Peng, daughter of Peng Ming, Grace Ge Geng, daughter of Gao Zhisheng, and Ti-Anna Wang, daughter of Wang Bingzhang, hold pictures of their imprisoned fathers during a House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations hearing in the Rayburn House Office Building titled “Their Daughters Appeal to Beijing: ‘Let Our Fathers Go!’”
Each year since 1990, CQ Roll Call has reviewed the financial disclosures of all 541 senators, representatives and delegates to determine the 50 richest members of Congress. This year's report, derived from forms covering the calendar year 2012, shows it took a net worth of $6.67 million to crack the exclusive club.