Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the House passed H.R. 5912, bipartisan legislation he authored to terminate taxpayer financing of party conventions. Since 1976, over $220 million in taxpayer funds have been spent on presidential nominating conventions for such expenses as make-up artists, political consulting fees, gift bags, banners and more. The bill passed by a wide, bipartisan margin of 310-95.
"Eliminating taxpayer funding for political conventions is the easiest spending cut Congress can make. Not a single average American benefits from this outdated, unnecessary program. At a time when the defense budget and other essential government functions face steep cuts, there is no excuse to waste millions on publicity for politicians who are more than capable of funding their own campaigns. Maintaining this obsolete practice is a disservice to hardworking taxpayers, and I'm pleased that that both the House and Senate have now passed this commonsense legislation on a bipartisan basis."
Democratic co-sponsor Dave Loebsack (IA-02) stated, "There is no need for taxpayers to foot the bill for the extravagance that was on display earlier this summer at both the Republican and Democratic party conventions. I am pleased the House has acted to get rid of this unnecessary taxpayer subsidy to both political parties and was pleased to work on a bipartisan basis with Congressman Cole to get it passed."
The legislation now moves to the Senate, which approved a similar policy in June by a vote of 95-4 as an amendment to the Farm Bill.
In January 2011, the House passed the Cole-authored H.R. 359 to end all public funding for presidential campaigns, including conventions. Rep. Cole first introduced similar legislation, H.R. 2992, in 2009.