- Al Sharpton, Trayvon Martin’s parents rally against Fla. ‘stand your ground’ law
- Hillary Clinton campaign got illicit funds from D.C. scandal figure
- Obama administration backs off plan to cut prescription-drug program
- Tickets linked to stolen passports purchased by Iranian middleman
- More than 3,500 police planned for Boston Marathon
- Ottawa day care suspends 2-year-old for ‘outside’ cheese sandwich
- Liam Neeson tells NYC mayor to ‘man up’ in horse carriage fight
- Real-life Dr. Doolittle to reveal how to talk to animals
- Climate change could bring back smallpox, researchers say
- Shoe-bomb witness to speak from London at N.Y. trial
House Republicans put voter assistant commission in cross hairs
House Republicans are pressing to kill an independent government commission designed to improve state-level voting procedures, arguing the body has run its course, is ineffectual and is a waste of taxpayer money.
The House Administration Committee will meet Tuesday to vote on amendments on a bill to repeal the Election Assistance Commission — created as part of the Help America Vote Act of 2002, or HAVA, that was designed to help modernize state-level voting systems in response to Florida’s ballot-counting troubles during the 2000 presidential election.
But the commission has been in limbo since late 2010, when it last had a quorum. All four seats currently are vacant.
Democrats, who support the agency, say that’s because Republicans have undermined its authority by holding up nominations and repeatedly trying to abolish it.
One of HAVA’s main goals has been to help states eliminate punch card and lever voting machines.
The election commission was tasked with distributing federal money to states to comply with the requirements, particularly to purchase the replacement electronic touch-screen voting machines. More than $3.1 billion has bee doled out so far.
Republicans say that while the goal of updating voting machines is a worthy one, the money can’t be justified at a time when the federal debt is almost $17 trillion.
Republicans add that the election commission has a history of mismanagement and improperly spends more than 50 percent of its budget on overhead. And they say the agency was meant to be a temporary body that already should’ve been slated to end.
“The Election Assistance Commission is an obsolete agency that has long outlived its purpose,” said Rep. Gregg Harper, Mississippi Republican, who sponsored the bill calling for its termination.
“The existence of the EAC is not necessary to conduct federal elections and is an unnecessary expenditure of taxpayer funds.”
But several elections and government reform groups who oppose the bill — including the Campaign Legal Center, Americans for Campaign Reform, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, and Common Cause — sent a joint letter Monday to House Administration Committee members saying that Congress should strengthen, not kill, the election commission.
“Congress should ensure that the EAC has sufficient authority to carry out these responsibilities,” the groups said.
Democrats, meanwhile, are pushing their own measure to reform and reauthorize the commission. Rep. Robert A. Brady of Pennsylvania, the senior Democrat on the House Administration Committee, says the GOP “assault” on the election commission led to “unreasonably long lines, confusion and disenfranchisement of thousands in the 2012 election.”
House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, the Maryland Democrat who sponsored the Help America Vote Act in 2002, has called on House Administration Committee Chairwoman Candice S. Miller, Michigan Republican, to hold a vote on the Democratic measure. Mr. Hoyer says it’s essential that states get federal help to modernize their voting systems in order to protect against a repeat of the 2000 presidential election ballot controversy in Florida.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Sean Lengell covers Congress and national politics and can be reached at email@example.com.
- GOP tests Democrats on college loan issue
- Lawmakers outside intelligence loop get miffed about briefing structure in Congress
- John Boehner: Time is right to bring latest farm bill to House floor
- Supreme Court nears rulings on key voting rights cases
- John Boehner demands answers on NSA, phone records
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By David Keene
Conference showed that the values Reagan cherished still endure
- Hillary Clinton campaign received funds from Jeffrey Thompson
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- Senate Democrats, Republicans spar over restoring unemployment benefits
- Mitch McConnell on beating tea party: 'We are going to crush them'
- CARNES: Kissinger's flawed and offensive analysis of Ukraine
- Atheists sue to remove 'Ground Zero Cross' from 9/11 museum
- SAUERBREY: Taxing Marylanders until they flee
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- Sharyl Attkisson resigns from CBS after months of talks
- DHS accused of holding U.S. citizen at airport, using emails to pry into her sex life
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again