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Public Statements

Prohibiting Use of Presidential Election Campaign Funds for Party Conventions

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. LOEBSACK. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from California for yielding, and I do rise in support of this bill.

As we struggle to recover from the worst recession since the Great Depression, Congress must be good stewards of taxpayer funding and ensure that as families cut back and save, the government cuts back and saves as well.

I have been pleased to work with Congressman Cole to promote this legislation. And as the only Democratic cosponsor, I do want to thank him for his work on this bill. I'm also pleased that Senator Coburn's identical amendment passed with huge bipartisan support in the Senate. And I do expect similar support in the House, as I think we can all agree on this commonsense way to ensure the prudent use of taxpayer funds.

This bill will prohibit the use of public funding for political party conventions like the recent ones in Tampa and Charlotte. It will also put any leftover funding toward deficit reduction. And while I did not attend the convention this year so I could focus on the needs of Iowans, I know there is an important role some convention activities play for the political parties and for the country, and indeed for the political process in America. However, I do not believe that taxpayer dollars need to be used to fund them, especially when public funding, as was mentioned, only makes up 23 percent of the cost of the conventions, is far outweighed by private donations, and is used for purposes not necessarily critical to the continuance of our stable democracy.

While Iowa families are struggling each day just to pay the bills, Washington should as well be focused on ensuring proper use of taxpayer resources. While I certainly appreciate the concerns of those opposed to this bill, I nonetheless hope that the House agrees that parties at political conventions are not a proper purpose or use of funds, taxpayer dollars.

I do hope that my colleagues will support Congressman Cole's legislation to ensure taxpayer funds are not being used for either Republican or Democratic Parties, and that in the future, I would like to see us be much more thoughtful regarding where we apply public funds in the political process. I think there is an important role for that.


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