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Attempt to overturn key provisions of Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision clears Senate hurdle

SJ Res 19 will now be debated on the floor of the U.S. Senate

WASHINGTON - September 08, 2014 -

A legislative attempt to override the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC passed a key hurdle in the U.S. Senate earlier today.  SJ Res 19, a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would expressly grant Congress the authority to regulate and limit the amount of money raised for and spent on federal political campaigns, was able to meet the 60-vote threshold to proceed to debate in the Senate. The provision will allow states to regulate campaign spending at their level. 

Since the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC  in 2010, corporate money has flooded our political system, drowning out the voices of ordinary Americans. In 2012 alone, “Super PACs” and 501(c)4 entities spent hundreds of millions of dollars to influence the outcome of elections. 

NEA President Lily Eskelsen García issued the following statement in response to today’s cloture vote in the U.S. Senate:

“Today, enough members of the U.S. Senate voted to at least debate the corrosive influence on American democracy caused by the Citizens’ United Supreme Court decision.  But this is just the first step in the process to repeal the decision.  Those senators should vote yes on final passage of the bill and show that they recognize the need for an electoral system of checks and balances which assures that each American’s voice should be heard as loud as another.  Let us not deny the regular people a voice in determining the future of our country.

“As we approach our midterm elections, millions of dollars of secret, unaccountable corporate money is being spent to influence voters – and politicians. Educators live the impact of the Citizens’ United decision every day as they fight the pro-privatization agenda of the Koch Brothers, the Walton family and ALEC-member politicians.  Educators know that the corporate education agenda, including private school voucher schemes, teacher evaluations tied to toxic testing, policies that promote the misuse and overuse of high stakes standardized testing and slashing public education budgets have hurt our students and public schools.

“We urge the Senate to pass this constitutional amendment to allow Congress to turn down the volume on corporate speech so individual citizens can be heard as our nation’s founders intended.”

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The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

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