Washington, D.C. - Mary Kay Henry, President of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) issued this statement today in response to U.S. House of Representatives voted 239 to 160 for H.R. 359, To reduce Federal spending and the deficit by terminating taxpayer financing of presidential election campaigns and party conventions.
"It is hard to imagine a more cynical vote than the one today by a group of Republicans to eliminate public funding of Presidential campaigns. Today's vote makes it clear that a majority of those in the House of Representatives wish to announce that they are for sale to the highest bidder. We applaud the those that voted against this bill.
"It is not surprising that the courts have blessed public funding as the best kind of campaign finance reform because it promotes the constitutional values of free speech and free expression while curbing the corruption that is increasingly a part of our political system. Public funding takes much of the private money out of politics, and the possibility of corruption or paid-influence that comes with it.
"If anything, the public funding system should be improved and expanded so that candidates can safely choose the option without worrying that the current limitations in the public funding system might give their opponents an unfair advantage.
"You would think that Representatives would not vote to eliminate the one campaign finance tool that most clearly advances the values of the Constitution at a time when we hear about the need to strictly follow that very document in everything we do and when candidates are accepting unprecedented amounts of corporate donations made possible by the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision.
"Public funding builds confidence that our government is not for sale and it allows politicians to focus on the issues that affect people every day - creating jobs for the middle class, protecting economic growth and promoting retirement security. We call the Senate to do the right thing and vote this misguided legislation down."
With 2.2 million members in Canada, the United States and Puerto Rico, SEIU is the fastest-growing union in the Americas. Focused on uniting workers in healthcare, public services and property services, SEIU members are winning better wages, healthcare and more secure jobs for our communities, while uniting their strength with their counterparts around the world to help ensure that workers--not just corporations and CEOs--benefit from today's global economy.