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Campaign Finance Reform Measure Nears Approval

<i> From Associated Press</i>

House champions of a bipartisan campaign finance bill rode out a wave of “killer” amendments Thursday and were within sight of winning a dramatic endorsement for their approach to correcting fund-raising abuses.

Time after time throughout the night Reps. Christopher Shays (R-Conn.) and Martin T. Meehan (D-Mass.) reminded their colleagues that certain “poison pill” amendments, if accepted, could tear apart their fragile coalition and sink chances for passing campaign finance legislation this year.

Their supporters responded, defeating Republican amendments that would have weakened the 1995 “motor voter law” aimed at promoting voter registration and limiting the amount of contributions a candidate could receive from outside his district.

The Shays-Meehan bill is the leader among a dozen alternatives to campaign finance reform that the House has been debating over the last month.

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The measure that gets the most votes will be the final House bill.

The House is expected to finish voting on amendments to Shays-Meehan today, and vote on the bill on Monday.

Supporters of the measure faced six so-called “poison pill” amendments Thursday and defeated all of them.

With 50 or more Republicans joining most Democrats, they handily defeated amendments that would have allowed states to require proof of citizenship or photo identifications before allowing people to register to vote.

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Supporters argued that such steps were needed to reduce voter fraud, but opponents said it would undermine “motor voter” goals of attracting new voters.


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