For the second time in two days, Senate Republicans on Tuesday blocked a Democratic bill that calls for more strict disclosures for political spending.
The bill died on a strictly partisan 53-45 vote, falling short of the 60 votes needed to overcome a Republican filibuster. Two senators didn’t vote.
After the measure met a similar fate Monday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat — on a symbolic gesture — called for an evening of floor debate on the bill before holding another vote Tuesday afternoon.
The Disclose Act calls for new donor-and-contribution-disclosure requirements on most groups that spend money on political advertisements but are not affiliated with a candidate or political party. The sponsor of the ad would be required to appear in the ad and claim responsibility for it.
The measure is a direct response to a 5-4 Supreme Court ruling in 2010 that struck down most limits on corporate and union spending in elections as violating First Amendment guarantees of free speech. That case, Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission, has been criticized by most Democrats, including President Obama in front of the justices at the State of the Union address, but generally applauded by Republicans.
Democrats say the White House-backed measure would add much needed transparency to the unlimited political expenditures now allowed by outside groups. Republicans say the measure is an attempt to circumvent the Supreme Court’s decision and could be used as a political weapon to target certain groups while leaving others alone.