The banking industry, recently described by Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) as the “most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill,” has maintained its hold over Congress even after causing the current financial meltdown. While discussing the mortgage crisis on Bill Moyers’ Journal on May 8, Senator Durbin, co-sponsor of the Fair Elections Now Act (FENA), stated that the “way we finance our campaigns” lies at the heart of the current crisis. His solution is FENA, a bill that will provide public financing to congressional candidates.
By giving congressional candidates the option to run their campaigns with money free of any strings attached, FENA ensures that politicians will not make legislative decisions out of a sense of indebtedness to large contributors but will vote their conscience. Senator Durbin declared that now is the “time for us to move to public financing, for the good of the country,” and it certainly seems that the potent combination of economic collapse and political challenges means that there is no time like the present to fully consider how to change business as usual in Washington.
At a press event on Monday May 11, Representative Larson (D-CT), co-sponsor of the House version of FENA, stated that due to the bill’s importance, he hopes to push the bill through the House before the end of the summer. The House version of FENA, co-sponsored by Rep. Larson (D-CT) and Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC), now has 31 co-sponsors.