GovTrack’s Bill Summary
We don’t have a summary available yet.
The bill’s title was written by the bill’s sponsor. H.R. stands for House of Representatives bill.
We don’t have a summary available yet.
The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.
The summary below was written by the House Republican Conference, which is the caucus of Republicans in the House of Representatives.
This summary can be found at http://www.gop.gov/bill/112/1/hr359.
The Presidential Election Campaign Fund (PECF) was created in 1971 by the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) and first used to provide funds for presidential campaigns in 1976. According to the Federal Election Commission (FEC)—with the exception of then-candidate Barack Obama—every presidential campaign since 1976 has been financed in part with public taxpayer funds. Under current law, the PECF is financed by voluntary contributions from taxpayers who check a box on their tax returns to designate a portion of their tax dollars to the PECF. Today, the contribution levels are $3 for individual income tax filers and $6 for joint filers. The PECF provides funding to candidates in the primary and general elections through matching funds of up to $250 of any contribution from a taxpayer. Though taxpayers may contribute up to $2,000 to a candidate, only $250 of a contribution is ever matchable.
Candidates who accept public financing through the PECF must agree to limit their campaign spending to a specific amount. The FEC is responsible for administering the public financing program and determining which candidates are eligible and the amount to which they are entitled. In addition, the FEC audits all campaigns receiving public funds to verify that funds are used in accordance with the law. The Department of Treasury makes the payouts to the campaigns using funds from the PECF. According to CBO, the fund currently collects about $42 million annually, and its balance was $195 million at the end of 2010.
According to the FEC, participation in public financing by presidential candidates has declined rapidly in recent years. Prior to the 2004 presidential election total public funding payouts had increased every election cycle, from $72.7 million in 1976 to $239.5 million in 2000. Since 2000, however, participation by candidates has declined sharply and in 2008, total PECF payouts totaled $138.7 million. According to the Congressional Research Service (CRS), only eight candidates received matching funds during the primary and then-candidate Obama became “the first major-party nominee since the program's inception to completely decline public funds.” Despite the fact that then-candidate Obama eschewed using public financing, the White House has issued a Statement of Administration Policy (SAP) which “strongly opposes” eliminating the PECF and saving taxpayers $617 million.
H.R. 359 would reduce direct spending by $617 million over ten years by eliminating the Presidential Election Campaign Fund (PECF) and thus eliminating public financing of presidential campaigns. Specifically, the bill would: 1) terminate a taxpayer’s option to contribute a portion of their income tax return to the PECF; 2) transfer the entire current balance of the PECF to the general Treasury fund; and 3) terminate the authority to spend federal funds on presidential campaigns.
According to CBO, H.R. 359 would reduce direct spending by $447 million over the FY 2011 – FY 2016 period and by $617 million over ten years.
The House Democratic Caucus does not provide summaries of bills.
So, yes, we display the House Republican Conference’s summaries when available even if we do not have a Democratic summary available. That’s because we feel it is better to give you as much information as possible, even if we cannot provide every viewpoint.
We’ll be looking for a source of summaries from the other side in the meanwhile.