In the wake of the horrible Supreme Court decision in Citizens United, Rep. John Larson of Connecticut has introduced a bill that would reform substantially the way members of Congress are elected. It's not perfect, but it's a big step. The Fair Elections Now Act, H.R. 1826, would create partial public funding for Congressional races, with a 4-1 match for contributions of $100 or less. The money would come from a small fee on goverment contractors.
There are now more than 130 co-sponsors in the House, and they're pusing for a floor vote. But Speaker Nancy Pelosi hasn't decided whether to allow the bill to come to the floor.
The politics of that are crazy. If the Democrats want to keep control of the House, they need to have something to campaign on this fall. During the presidential campaign, the party promise reform -- but so far, other than a mild health care bill, there's no real reform on the table.
"If Democrats don't have a real reform agenda that includes election reform -- and that shows the party wants to change how business is done in Washington -- we could be in big trouble in the fall," Steve Hildebrand, a former Obama strategist who is helping the Fair Elections Now Act folks, told me.
So what's up. Nancy? Why not at least give the bill a chance.