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HR 1 Backers Haven’t Given Up on Senate Action

Proponents of HR 1, the sweeping Democratic overhaul of elections and ethics law, are not quite ready to give in to the insurmountable opposition that is Senate Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

As the House debated and passed the bill along party lines last week, McConnell reiterated his plan to bury the bill in the Senate and declared doing so would be a campaign season winner for his side.

Democratic Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico nonetheless plans to introduce a very similar measure in the Senate on Wednesday and will seek to create a solid roster of Democratic co-sponsors. So much as a single GOP cosponsor is a decided long shot since business and conservative lobbying forces have put up a significant oppositional wall of their own.

"The thing that we've seen from the Republican leadership and the lobbyists and K Street is that they are completely against it from day one," Udall told Roll Call. "It's a real full-court press to stomp this out early."

Also hoping to slow McConnell's momentum is the editorial board of The New York Times, which excoriated the majority leader for an intransigence that "leaves Republicans in the peculiar position of arguing that weeding out corruption, reducing the influence of special interests and protecting voting rights are inherently Democratic values."

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The House bill "is arguably a grand values statement more than a practical legislative blueprint. Not even its most fervent supporters expect it to go anywhere without considerable adjustment," the Times said. "The public is increasingly hungry for reform, thanks in part to the continuing outrages of President Trump. Mr. McConnell may turn out to be right that the issue will cause lawmakers pain in the coming elections — just not in the way he expects."

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