Homestate newspapers of both Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) covered their introduction of the Fair Elections Now Act yesterday. The Chicago Tribune article focuses on Senator Durbin's interest in reigning in out of control campaign spending, while the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette notes Senator Specter's interest in letting elected officials step off the fundraising treadmill and devote more time to doing their jobs.
Both Durbin and Specter praised the practical benefits of the proposed legislation, and Durbin was quick to counter a popular argument against full public financing of elections:
"People who say the public shouldn't pay for elections are missing the point. We already pay for elections," Mr. Durbin said. "We pay when special interests are literally allowed to write their own bills."
The Gazette also quotes Public Campaign's President, Nick Nyhart, in support of the introduction of this bill by the two Senators and the companion legislation to be introduced by Reps. John Tierney (D-MA), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), and Todd Platts (R-PA), calling the two bills a "historic opportunity for every elected official in Congress to say 'no' to the politics of big checks and the endless money chase and 'yes' to putting voters first."
Just a note: the Tribune's coverage does make an error in reference to the provisions of the bill for third party and minor party candidates, claiming they would have to raise 150% of the qualifying contributions as major party candidates. The Senate bill has no such provision.