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Liberal Lobby Snared in Campaign Probes (Nov. 3)

Gingrich Vows Vote in Spring On Campaigns

By Kathy Sawyer
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, November 3, 1997; Page A09

House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) yesterday said the House will join the Senate in taking up campaign finance legislation next spring.

Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) said Thursday he will schedule debate on finance legislation no later than March 6.

Gingrich, appearing with Lott and Democratic congressional leaders on NBC's "Meet the Press," said, "We will have a vote either in March or April, is my guess, on campaign finance reform. There's some thought of letting the Senate go first . . . and then seeing how the Senate works out, but setting a date certain in either March or April."

Republican leaders on both sides of the Capitol have been under pressure to agree to take up the issue. On the Senate side, Democrats blocked all but "urgent" legislation to force Republicans to agree to what they regarded as an acceptable plan on campaign finance.

Legislation sponsored by Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Russell Feingold (D-Wis.), which would have banned "soft money" and put other curbs on special interest funding of campaigns, died in a GOP filibuster earlier this month. Its backers had been battling ever since to force further votes.

The Senate agreement was endorsed by McCain and Feingold as well as their principal opponent, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). It provides that Lott would offer a campaign finance bill by March 6 and that the McCain-Feingold bill can be offered as a substitute, although a vote on it could still be blocked by parliamentary tactics.

On the House side, Democrats in late October moved to force votes on an array of campaign finance bills. Although they did not succeed in requiring a vote, Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt (D-Mo.) suggested their pressure pushed Gingrich into scheduling a vote next year.

"The people of this country are fed up with the political system and the way it works," Gephardt said. "Probably the most important task we have in this Congress is to get good campaign reform done this Congress, signed by the president."

© Copyright 1997 The Washington Post Company

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