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House GOP Leader Says First Tax Cut, Then Campaign Finance Reform

Jan 25, 2001

Rochester, NY – The chairman of the House Republican Conference says tax cuts are a bigger priority for him than campaign finance reform, but he belives reform is coming this year. Congressman J.C. Watts of Oklahoma was in Rochester today (Thursday) to meet with religious leaders about the newly-adopted American Community Renewal Act. That legislation was signed by former President Bill Clinton before he left office. It promises to offer faith-based-groups federal funding to carry out social services such as drug rehabilitation. Watts says giving parents a bigger per-child tax credit is more important to him than reforming campaign laws. But Watts says the billre-introduced this year by Senators John McCain and Russ Feingold is a good foundation for what needs to be done. The republican conference leader says both republicans and democrats have to come out of the reform plan with a level playing field. He says it's out of kilter that wealthy candidates can spend unlimited amounts of their own money on a campaign. A key part of the campaign finance reform debate this year will be whether labor unions should be forced to get their members' permissionbefore they make campaign contributions. Congressman Watts says that's fair...as long as corporations are forced to ask their shareholders for permission to support candidates in the same way.