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house Bill H.R. 6433

Should Members of (& Candidates For) Congress be Prohibited From Fundraising When Congress is in Session?

Argument in favor

Members of Congress spend a significant amount of their time focusing on fundraising, rather than legislating, which has turned politics into more of a fundraising arms race rather than being focused on policymaking. It also makes elections increasingly expensive, giving fundraisers outsized power in politics.

Mancos's Opinion
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09/15/2018
It is time to change how we “do” politics. The appearance is that votes are “purchased” and Congress no longer represents their constituents but instead the lobbyists and corporate donors. Get rid of gerrymandering and level the playing field. The only time my representative show up is for photo opportunities and fundraisers. If the current administration has done any good it’s been to show us it is time for substantive change.
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Mike's Opinion
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09/15/2018
Politicians spend most of their time raising money by either calling and begging or begging in person and offering their soul to special interests. This is why almost every bill that is brought up today is written by special interest groups like ALEC. If they are banned from begging for money while in session, maybe they would actually read a bill or even write one themselves! I actually support public funding, no more “dark money”, PAC money or spending most of the day begging for cash. Public funding creates an equal playing field, no one gets more than their opponent and it encourages the politicians to go out door to door to meet the people they want to represent! Those who don’t want to work for the job won’t get it!
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Susan's Opinion
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09/15/2018
We freaking pay them to work for us not raise money for themselves.
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Argument opposed

Members of Congress do not, on average, spend an unreasonable amount of time fundraising. Given the amount of time members have out of session, it’s also plausible that most members are able to fit their fundraising activities in around votes and Congressional responsibilities.

burrkitty's Opinion
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09/15/2018
Overturning Citizens United and running elections from public funding instead of private funding would have a larger effect on getting corrupted money out of politics then restricting the timeline. All this bill does is increased the necessity of huge dark money donors. Not the goal. Also Sneaky Peat is TOTALLY WRONG about how much time a CongressCritter spends fundraising. It is 6-8 hours EVERY DAY. 85% of their time. They have party quotas to fill and everything. I agree that we need campaign-finance reform but this is not the path. By the way, money is NOT speech and corporations are NOT people.
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Katherine's Opinion
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09/15/2018
Preventing Congress from fundraising during session will only encourage taking money from big money donors who are buying legislation. End Citizens United and use public funding.
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Elaine's Opinion
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09/15/2018
This would help Republicans who have millionaires to donate, not average Americans who donate little amounts all year. Let’s have Federally funded campaigns, that would solve the problem this bill addresses in a better way. Get all donated money out of elections. Power to the people not corporate America.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Administration
    IntroducedJuly 18th, 2018

What is House Bill H.R. 6433?

This bill — known as the Go to Washington, Go to Work Act — would prohibit members of Congress and congressional candidates from soliciting campaign funds on any day in which the branch of Congress the candidate is running for is in session. Members and candidates would be prohibited from participating in events by attending, speaking, or being a featured guest. Under current law, federal candidates are prohibited from soliciting “soft” money but members of Congress are allowed to “attend, speak or be a featured guest at a fundraising event.”

This bill would apply to elections occurring during 2019 or any succeeding year.

Impact

Congressional campaigns; political fundraisers; candidates for Congress; members of Congress.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 6433

A CBO cost estimate for this bill is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: Rep. Richard Nolan (D-MN) introduced this bill to prohibit members of Congress and candidates for Congress from fundraising while Congress is in session — reducing the amount of time members of Congress spend in Washington fundraising for reelection as opposed to legislating in the Capitol:

“It’s time to change the way we do politics, and restore people’s confidence in our great American democracy. The massive amounts of money in politics and time being spent fundraising is denigrating members and candidates, and it’s discouraging good people from running for public office. It has turned members of Congress into middle-level telemarketers dialing for dollars. As a result, this Congress is the most unaccomplished, undemocratic and unremarkable in our country’s history. We are elected to go to Washington and go to work on the people’s business. That’s what being a member of Congress should be all about.”

Original cosponsor Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) added:

“Our nation was founded on the principle that government should be by the people and for the people, not government by and for special interests. Over the years, members of Congress have strayed from this founding principle by focusing on fundraising for their next election rather than doing the people’s work. As a result, our nation’s problems have grown worse, and people’s trust in government’s ability to fix them continues to shrink. The common sense reforms in this bill are critical to helping reduce the influence of money in politics and get Congress working again.”

Former Senator Tom Harkin, the longest-serving Democrat in Iowa history, says that the current fundraising pressure decreases collegiality in Congress, as members no longer have time to socialize:

“It’s not as much fun in that we’re so consumed with other things. Here’s what I mean — we used to have a Senate Dining Room that was only for senators. We’d go down there and sit around there, and Joe Biden and Fritz Hollings and Dale Bumpers and Ted Stevens and Strom Thurmond and a bunch of us — Democrats and Republicans. We’d have lunch and joke and tell stories, a great camaraderie. That dining room doesn’t exist any longer because people quit going there. Why did they quit going? Well, we’re not there on Monday, and we’re not there on Friday. Tuesday we have our party caucuses. That leaves Wednesday and Thursday — and guess what people are doing then? They’re out raising money. The time is so consumed with raising money now... that you don’t have the time for the kind of personal relationships that so many of us built up over time.”

Nick Tomboulides, Executive Director of U.S. Term Limits, expressed his organization’s support for a similar bill in 2016, stating that “prioritizing fundraising for political campaigns over legislative responsibilities is disastrous for the American people.

Despite popular belief that members of Congress spend all their time “dialing for dollars” or participating in other fundraising activity, there is evidence suggesting these fears are overblown. The Congressional Management Foundation, in a survey of Congressional chiefs of staffs, found that chiefs of staff were “lucky if they can get four or five hours a week raising money.” According to the Congressional Management Foundation’s findings, all political/campaign work — a broad category that encompasses fundraising — takes up less than a fifth (20%) of members’ time.

There is one Republican cosponsor of this bill.


Of Note: According to the Campaign Finance Institute (CFI), the average cost of a congressional campaign (House and Senate spending averages combined) has increased to more than $10 million, with a growing number of races doubling that amount. Since 1986, campaign budgets have increased 62% for the Senate, and 344% for the House of Representatives.

Members of both chambers spend significant time and energy raising money: In the 2012 election, House incumbents raised an average of $1.7 million – an average of $2,400 per day in the two-year election cycle in that chamber. In the 2012 election, Senate incumbents who were up for reelection raised an average of $10.3 million — an average of over $4,700 per day over that chamber’s six-year term.

Former Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL), who resigned in 2015 after Politico raised questions about his mileage reimbursements, is an example of the disturbing extremes the current campaign finance system can create. In the current system, Members are valued by leadership and fellow members of Congress because of their fundraising prowess, rather than their legislative abilities. Schock — whose legislative achievements in the House could only have been described as “slim,” especially in the context of his role as Deputy Minority Whip upon arrival in the House — was seen as an up-and-comer largely due to his reputation as a rainmaker.

While some might worry that this bill leaves members of Congress too little time to fundraise, the format of the congressional calendar makes it unlikely that this will be the case. In 2014, the members of the House spent only 29 weeks in session — each of which was bookended by long weekends that members could use to do district work, fundraise, or run for re-election.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStock / NoDerog)

AKA

Go to Washington, Go to Work Act

Official Title

To amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to prohibit Congressional candidates and Members of Congress from soliciting campaign funds on any day on which the House of Congress in which the candidate seeks election or the Member serves is in session.

    It is time to change how we “do” politics. The appearance is that votes are “purchased” and Congress no longer represents their constituents but instead the lobbyists and corporate donors. Get rid of gerrymandering and level the playing field. The only time my representative show up is for photo opportunities and fundraisers. If the current administration has done any good it’s been to show us it is time for substantive change.
    Like (123)
    Follow
    Share
    Overturning Citizens United and running elections from public funding instead of private funding would have a larger effect on getting corrupted money out of politics then restricting the timeline. All this bill does is increased the necessity of huge dark money donors. Not the goal. Also Sneaky Peat is TOTALLY WRONG about how much time a CongressCritter spends fundraising. It is 6-8 hours EVERY DAY. 85% of their time. They have party quotas to fill and everything. I agree that we need campaign-finance reform but this is not the path. By the way, money is NOT speech and corporations are NOT people.
    Like (151)
    Follow
    Share
    Preventing Congress from fundraising during session will only encourage taking money from big money donors who are buying legislation. End Citizens United and use public funding.
    Like (64)
    Follow
    Share
    Politicians spend most of their time raising money by either calling and begging or begging in person and offering their soul to special interests. This is why almost every bill that is brought up today is written by special interest groups like ALEC. If they are banned from begging for money while in session, maybe they would actually read a bill or even write one themselves! I actually support public funding, no more “dark money”, PAC money or spending most of the day begging for cash. Public funding creates an equal playing field, no one gets more than their opponent and it encourages the politicians to go out door to door to meet the people they want to represent! Those who don’t want to work for the job won’t get it!
    Like (47)
    Follow
    Share
    We freaking pay them to work for us not raise money for themselves.
    Like (38)
    Follow
    Share
    This would help Republicans who have millionaires to donate, not average Americans who donate little amounts all year. Let’s have Federally funded campaigns, that would solve the problem this bill addresses in a better way. Get all donated money out of elections. Power to the people not corporate America.
    Like (33)
    Follow
    Share
    29 weeks in session leaves 23 weeks to fundraise. That’s plenty of time. The current practices are conflicts of interests. US working people would get fired from our jobs if we took away productive hours from the corporation to do personal business. Elected officials are no different. When you’re in session you’re at work. Be productive. Leave personal business at home.
    Like (26)
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    Nice. Now pass Term Limits!
    Like (21)
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    Yes, and overturn Citizens United!
    Like (20)
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    This bill seems like a good first step in reforming how we do political campaigns. Our campaigning system is way too big, taking up too much time and money. We need to change things so that the politicians who get elected are the best at their job, not the most charismatic or visible on the campaign trail.
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    I think a better bill would be to overturn Citizens United. This bill seems well intended but I think it will have a downside of the seriously greedy taking more money from the seriously rich.
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    This will only push them to take BIG MONEY FROM CORPORATIONS OR GROUPS LIKE THE KOCHS. WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE IS: 1 OVERTURN CITIZENS UNITED 2 CREATE A LAW THAT DOES AWAY WITH THE REPUBLICAN SCOTUS RULING THAT ALLOWS CORPORATIONS TO BE THE SAME AS INDIVIDUALS- that makes the people less than since corporations have so much Money they can buy our Congress.
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    Some time to campaign is allowable, but not the ridiculous amount spent today. Every office should have a fixed window of no more than 3 months, right before an election, where Congress can campaign. If you cannot get your point across, clearly, in that amount of time one should not be in office.
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    Limit all forms of campaigning to 3 weeks for incumbents and 5 weeks for newbies. Once you are in, do your job ONLY, or get fired. If you were actually doing work for the American Citizens you represent, people would already know, because they would see progress in their hometowns and where their concerns are. You would not need more than 3 weeks to inform that you are running again and that you had many successes and delivered quality service to your constituents.
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    Take care of business you were elected to take care of.
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    Until there is comprehensive campaign finance reform, this will do little to take money out of politics. It is also unfair to non-member candidates who typically start at a disadvantage to an incumbent. Undoing Citizens United would be a far better remedy.
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    Overturn Citizens United and none of this would be nearly as much of an issue.
    Like (6)
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    Yes ALL members of Congress! No exceptions! Campaigns are all over the top expensive anyway and I don’t think many may be transparent or informative enough.
    Like (6)
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    You are in Washington to work for us. NOT to fund raise. Do that on your own time.
    Like (5)
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    What we really need to do is restrict Congressional power to what is is supposed to be, as written in the Constitution. If government power is reduced, the money and corruption would be reduced as well.
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