During a hearing on Thursday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) brought forth an amendment that would establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund to allow for a Constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.
Sen. Sanders asked his colleagues,
“Are you comfortable with an American political system which is increasingly being dominated by a handful of billionaires, whether they are Republicans, whether they are Democrats, whether they are Liberals, whether they are Conservatives?
Do you want to run for office and understand that your campaign will be significantly less important than the independent expenditures that may be spent in that campaign?
Are we a nation in which we pride ourselves on ‘One person, One vote?’ Or do we sit aside and say to an ordinary American, ‘you gotta vote, but the Koch brothers and other billionaires can spend hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars?'”
“The American people are profoundly disgusted with the kind of political system we are evolving into,” Sanders said, before the floor was opened for comments.
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) brought the Founding Fathers into the discussion, saying that they would be appalled at the amount of regulation on campaign spending. Toomey also made the ridiculous suggestion that limits on campaign contributions should be eliminated completely.
Sanders pointed out that what Toomey was essentially saying was that billionaires could give as much money as they wanted directly to candidates.
“Who are those members of Congress elected with the help of billionaires going to be representing?” Sanders asked. “Do you think they’re going to be representing the middle class and working families in this country? You’re going to be a paid employee for the billionaire class. I think enough is enough. We’ve got to overturn Citizens United.”
Unfortunately, Sen. Sanders amendment did not pass. The vote was 12-10, falling seemingly along party lines. However, as long as Sen. Sanders keeps fighting to get rid of Citizens United, hopefully enough people will hear him and the decision will finally be overturned.
Watch the discussion and vote from Thursday’s hearing.