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Bob Graham on Government Reform


Allow non-US natives to run for President

Q: Do you believe in altering the US Constitution so that naturalized citizens could run for the presidency?

GRAHAM: That was a provision which was put into the Constitution by our founding fathers when there was concern that people of different lands might not carry forward the values upon which this nation was founded. I think it is a provision which has run its time. For instance, there is an excellent governor of Michigan who would be an outstanding candidate for president. She is denied that opportunity because she happened to have been born in Canada. I believe that disserves America and unnecessarily restricts the pool of people who can be president of the United States.

I happen to come from a state that is very diverse. In fact, the Miami community has the highest percentage of persons who were born outside the US of any community in this nation. I understand, by having served and lived in a diverse society, what is required to build the one America that we all seek.

Source: Congressional Black Caucus Institute debate Sep 9, 2003

$40B aid to states to cover unfunded mandates

Q: Would a new federal revenue-sharing program be appropriate as a means of assisting state and local governments today?

GRAHAM: We have a crisis. Some would say, "Well, this is not a federal responsibility. This is a result of state mismanagement." It is a federal responsibility. The federal government has passed a series of mandates on the states, everything from special education, to No Child Left Behind, to homeland security, and failed to provide the dollars that it was committed to do to make those programs real.

What I think we ought to do is this year is to put $40 billion into the states to help them immediately deal with their crisis. That would provide $330 million for Iowa, incidentally, and to see that those funds are expedited to the states by doing it through a change in the Medicaid formula with the federal government picking up a larger proportion of the costs. That's the best remedy. That's the best prescription to the current crisis.

Source: AFSCME union debate in Iowa May 17, 2003

National election reform; but leave elections to the states

SHARPTON [to Graham]: One of the main concerns with for [voting in] 2004 is what happened in 2000. And it happened in your state. There's a proposal in the House to make voting a constitutional amendment. Would you support legislation to make voting a constitutional amendment, so it's not a state's right and we end up with a repeat of what we had in the year 2000?

GRAHAM: Probably no. I believe in the principle of states having responsibility for the conduct of their elections. Now, the Congress has just recently passed a National Election Reform bill which will set some general standards, but more importantly will provide funds to the states to upgrade the quality of their election technology, and the training of election personnel, [etc.] We're not proud of what happened in Florida. But had the election been as close in any other state, similar fractures would have been seen, and therefore [I see] the wisdom of, not a national takeover, but a national system for fair election reform.

Source: [X-ref from Sharpton] Democratic Debate in Columbia SC May 3, 2003

Voted YES on banning "soft money" contributions and restricting issue ads.

Vote on passage of H.R. 2356; Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (Shays-Meehan bill, House equivalent of McCain-Feingoldf bill). Vote to ban “soft money” contributions to national political parties but permit up to $10,000 in soft money contributions to state and local parties to help with voter registration and get-out-the-vote drives. The bill would stop issue ads from targeting specific candidates within 30 days of the primary or 60 days of the general election. Additionally, the bill would raise the individual contribution limit from $1,000 to $2,000 per election for House and Senate candidates, both of which would be indexed for inflation.
Bill HR.2356 ; vote number 2002-54 on Mar 20, 2002

Voted NO on require photo ID (not just signature) for voter registration.

Motion to Table Schumer Amdt. No. 2937; To permit the use of a signature or personal mark for the purpose of verifying the identity of voters who register by mail, and for other purposes. Voting Yes would kill the amendment. The amendment would allow a signature to identify voters who register by mail, instead of requiring showing photo identification or other proof of residence before being allowed to vote.
Bill S.565 ; vote number 2002-38 on Feb 27, 2002

Voted YES on banning campaign donations from unions and corporations.

Vote to ban soft money donations to political parties and forbid corporate general funds and union general funds from being spent on issue ads. The bill would increase the individual contribution limit to candidates from $1,000 to $2,000.
Bill S.27 ; vote number 2001-64 on Apr 2, 2001

Voted YES on continuing funding for the National Endowment for the Arts.

This table motion would end debate on an amendment aimed at funding for the National Endowment for the Arts. Support for the motion to table is a vote for NEA funding. [YES to table means supporting the NEA; NO means defunding the NEA].
Status: Motion to Table Agreed to Y)80; N)16; NV)4
Reference: Motion to table Smith Amdt #1569; Bill H.R. 2466 ; vote number 1999-260 on Aug 5, 1999

Voted YES on favoring 1997 McCain-Feingold overhaul of campaign finance.

Support of the campaign finance bill proposed by Senators McCain (R-AZ) and Feingold (D-WI).
Status: Cloture Motion Rejected Y)53; N)47
Reference: Campaign Finance Reform Bill; Bill S. 25 ; vote number 1997-267 on Oct 7, 1997

Voted YES on Approving the presidential line-item veto.

Approval of the presidential line-item veto authority.
Status: Conf Rpt Agreed to Y)69; N)31
Reference: Conference Report on S. 4; Bill S. 4 ; vote number 1996-56 on Mar 27, 1996

Voted NO on banning more types of Congressional gifts.

To exclude certain items from the Congressional Gift Ban.
Status: Amdt Failed Y)39; N)60; NV)1
Reference: Murkowski Amdt to S. 1061; Bill S. 1061 ; vote number 1995-339 on Jul 28, 1995

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