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Congress Lobbies on Finance Bill

July 12, 2001

WASHINGTON (AP) _ On the eve of a showdown, supporters of campaign finance legislation accused House Republicans of attempting to scuttle their bill by denying them a fair vote, raising doubts about the prospects for passage of the measure to curtail the role of big money in politics.

``I am more than willing to live with the consequences of defeat with a process that is fair,″ said Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn., the main sponsor of the legislation with Rep. Marty Meehan, D-Mass. ``But these are games being played because the stakes are high and the vote is close.″

Republicans, who are attempting to gain votes for an alternative measure, disputed the claim. The last-minute controversy centered on terms for debate on the bill scheduled for floor action Thursday.

Shays, Meehan and other supports wanted to bring their bill to the floor with a package of 12 mostly minor last-minute changes included. But Republican officials said GOP leaders, meeting Wednesday night, decided to insist on separate votes on each of the 12 provisions.

``If they want to make a dozen changes, we’ll give them a dozen votes,″ said one GOP official.

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