Pelavin: "We applaud all those who lent their support to the discharge petition and we call on House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) to heed the will of his colleagues and of the American people by promptly scheduling a fair vote on this vital bill."
Contact: Alexis Rice or Michael Weiner 202-387-2800
WASHINGTON, January 24, 2002 - As the effort to force a fair vote on the Shays-Meehan campaign finance reform bill (H.R. 2356) met with success today, Mark J. Pelavin, Associate Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following response.
The complete statement follows:
Today marks a critical moment for the democratic life of this nation as a majority of our Representatives join together across party lines to promote the passage of meaningful campaign finance reform. We applaud the 218 House members who demonstrated courage and conviction by signing the discharge petition that has now garnered enough support to force a fair vote on the Shays-Meehan campaign finance reform bill (H.R. 2356). This important legislation would go a long way toward abating the pernicious influence of money in our electoral system, which often allows moneyed interests to dominate the political debate.
It is important to make clear that this is not merely an esoteric technical issue of election regulation, but a problem that is deeply intertwined in the ethical and moral fabric of our nation. We must be mindful of the biblical imperative to speak for the widow, the orphan, and the stranger; for the poor and for the children; for those who are all too often unable to make their voices heard. We cannot accept an electoral system that structurally and systematically favors the richest among us, a system in which one quarter of one percent of the population supplies 80 percent of the campaign contributions. We cannot acquiesce in a system that forces those who seek political office, or who wish to continue in public service, to spend so much time and energy raising campaign funds instead of raising the nation's moral conscience.
Shays-Meehan would ban "soft money," the huge, unregulated contributions to political parties. The bill would also institute other measures aimed at stemming the influence of money in our electoral system. After months of effort, a majority of Representatives have come together to tell their leadership that this legislation is too important to be stymied by procedural games. We applaud all those who lent their support to the discharge petition and we call on House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) to heed the will of his colleagues and of the American people by promptly scheduling a fair vote on this vital bill. Further, we urge all members of the House to follow the example set by the Senate last April by voting in favor of Shays-Meehan. Finally, we encourage President Bush to make clear his support for this legislation, and to state his intention to sign it into law.
The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC) , whose 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews , and the Central Conference of American Rabbis(CCAR) whose membership includes over 1700 Reform rabbis .