THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT
In my State of the Union Address, I called on Congress to enact bipartisan campaign finance reform legislation. I said that delay could be the death of reform, and urged Congress to move forward quickly. I strongly support the decision by Senators McCain and Feingold to bring campaign finance reform legislation to the floor of Congress in September for a vote.
The problems with the role of money in Presidential and Congressional elections are plain. Since the campaign finance laws were last overhauled two and a half decades ago, the system has been overwhelmed by a flood of campaign cash. Both political parties are now engaged in an ever-escalating arms race for campaign funds. The consequences for our political system are clear: there is too much money in politics, and it takes too much time to raise.
To make sure that ordinary citizens have the loudest voice in our democracy, we must act to change the campaign finance laws. This year, I have asked the FEC to ban so called "soft money" to parties; I have asked the Federal Communications Commission to require broadcasters to provide free TV time to candidates; and the Justice Department has indicated it will defend spending limits in the courts. But these steps, however important, are no substitute for legislation. America needs - and the American people demand - strong, comprehensive campaign finance reform legislation. As the new century approaches, we have an opportunity and an obligation to restore the trust of the American people in their politics - and this is our chance to do it.
For years, the special interests and their allies have blocked reform. This year, those who seek to continue special interest influence as usual will filibuster again. But this year, we have an opportunity to come together across party lines to act and pass reform that cleans up the campaign finance system. September will be the time for members of the Senate to stand up and be counted for reform. I will do what I can to see to it that 1997 is finally the year that it is achieved.