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Louis Jacobson
By Louis Jacobson December 17, 2021

Provisions to curb super PACs survive in Senate version, but election bill remains stalled

During the 2020 presidential campaign, Joe Biden pledged to push legislation to ensure that super PACs — groups that are able to accept and spend unlimited amounts of money in elections — "are wholly independent of campaigns and political parties."

This goal of preventing coordination between candidates and super PACs was addressed in the voting and elections bill known as H.R. 1, which passed the House in March with only Democrats voting in favor.

That bill includes "robust provisions to ensure that super PACs operate independently of candidates and political parties," said Brendan M. Fischer, director of the federal reform program with the Campaign Legal Center.

Unlike some other portions of H.R. 1, the super PAC provisions remained in the bill after it moved to the Senate.

However, in a 50-50 vote in June, the Senate version of the bill fell 10 votes short of the 60 required to move forward. That vote effectively shelved the legislation in the Senate, unless Democratic leaders can convince holdouts within their conference, including Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, to agree to a carve-out to the 60-vote threshold for election-related bills.

Like other election-related promises that were passed by the House in H.R. 1 but are now blocked in the Senate, this promise is moving to Stalled.

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