The House is scheduled to begin debate the week of July 9 on legislation to reform federal campaign finance law. Legislation sponsored by Representatives Christopher Shays (R-CT) and Martin Meehan (D-MA) that is similar to the Senate-passed bill is slated to compete against several proposals from House Administration Committee Chairman Bob Ney (R-OH). Heated debate and complex political strategies involving amendments and substitutes are certain.
In April, the Senate passed an amended version of a bill sponsored by Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Russ Feingold (D-WI) that would prohibit “soft money” contributions to political parties (which are ostensibly used for “party-building” activities and which are free from restrictions) and regulate so-called issue ads that are clearly designed to promote or oppose specific candidates for federal office.
At this Brookings Forum, four campaign finance specialists will provide a preview of the issues and the politics of the forthcoming House debate. In addition, the event will feature a presentation of an expanded section of the Brookings campaign finance website (www.brookings.edu/campaignfinance) devoted specifically to the current congressional debate. The expanded section will feature daily coverage of the debate, amendments, and roll call votes. The full site offers regularly updated documents, transcripts, legislative proposals, court opinions, and other resources on campaign finance reform.
I think it's unusual for the chief of staff to go on a trip, particularly on a trip this long. The chief of staff is usually more of a chief operating officer in the White House itself, and normally when your principal—whether it's the president himself or the head of Cabinet agency—goes abroad, you have his deputy and those folks staying behind to help manage operations in his absence.