Reps. Granger and Johnson
February 3, 1997
in this forum:
What happened behind the scenes during the Gingrich ethics vote? Are the lobbyists really waiting for your plane to land? How much pressure do you receive from party leaders? How can Congress be bipartisan when the leaders are at each others throats over ethics issues? Should House leader have their own PAC? What is your stand on the balanced budget amendment? Will there be campaign finance reform this session? What has surprised you most about Congress?
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Follow the first year in Congress of Freshmen Reps. Kay Granger (R-TX) and Jay Johnson (D-WI)
A question from Cullen Larson of Dahlonega, GA:
The basic outline of changes needed in campaign finance reform are clear. Each party will have to give up some advantage for the benefit of the process and its integrity. What hope do you see for real reform this session ?
Rep. Kay Granger responds:
I am optimistic that we can reform our campaign finance system. However, I believe that it will be very difficult to make broad, sweeping changes to the entire campaign financing system that will be acceptable to a majority of members. I think it is much more likely that more limited reforms, such as limitations on "soft money" and increasing disclosure requirements, will pass Congress and be signed into law.
Rep. Jay Johnson responds:
Right now, I think it's going to take some very tough compromises for both the Republicans and Democrats to agree on a comprehensive, far-reaching campaign finance proposal. Frankly, the system is very hard to change, because in the end, it has been used and abused by both sides to such an extent that, like a game of chess, either side is waiting cautiously for a move before reacting to it. I do believe that the reform bill authored by Senators Russ Feingold and John McCain is a good answer, but from the discussions I have heard in my first month here in Washington, I don't think the votes are there to pass it. I can tell you (and you read it here first) that several freshmen members of Congress DO have plans to try to get together on a bipartisan basis and open some frank and firm talks about seeing what kind of campaign reform we CAN agree on.