Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell introduced legislation Wednesday to save taxpayers $617 million over 10 years by ending taxpayer funding of the Presidential Election Campaign Fund and returning any unused funds to the Treasury--instead of to a political campaign:
The legislation, S. 194, is a companion bill to H.R. 359, introduced earlier this year by Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) and passed by the House of Representatives today. According to the Congressional Budget Office, ending taxpayer funding for the Presidential Election Campaign fund would reduce the deficit by $617 million over 10 years.
Sen. McConnell noted that, `In what is perhaps the largest poll taken in the country every year, fewer and fewer Americans are checking the box on their tax forms to pay for presidential campaign commercials.'
Rep. Cole said: "Sen. McConnell's leadership on this issue is unparalleled, and I appreciate his support of this bill. The Presidential Election Campaign Fund is a prime example of an outdated, wasteful Washington program that taxpayers want eliminated. I look forward to working with Senate Republicans to send this commonsense proposal to the president's desk."
In 1980, the percentage of Americans who agreed to divert their tax money from the Treasury to pay for political attack ads reached its high water mark at 28.7 percent. Since then, it's plummeted: In 2009 only 7.3 percent of taxpayers participated in the program.
"The American people have spoken and the verdict is clear, Sen. McConnell said. "They'd rather reduce the deficit than pay for attack ads and robo-calls. In a time of exploding deficits and record debt the last thing the American people want right now is to provide what amounts to welfare for politicians. I appreciate Rep. Cole's efforts to protect the taxpayers, and the House Republican leadership for ensuring this taxpayer protection was brought to a timely vote."