An effort by House Republicans to close the Election Assistance Commission cleared its first obstacle Wednesday. After some limited Democratic opposition, the House Administration Committee approved a bill that would remove funding from the EAC and transfer much of its responsibilities to the Federal Election Commission.
The bill, which was approved by voice vote, is expected to receive a vote on the House floor next month, and Republicans are optimistic of its passage. “Now is simply the time to end the EAC and to save the American taxpayers $14 million a year,” said Rep. Gregg Harper (R-Miss.), the bill’s sponsor. “It doesn’t get any easier to find an example of wasteful spending.”
Shortly before the vote, the committee rejected Rep. Charlie Gonzalez’s attempt to insert language that would only make changes to the EAC, instead of closing it. The Texas Democrat’s efforts reflect the views of Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, who opposes terminating the EAC.
“Abolishing the EAC would be an invitation to repeat mistakes that blemished our democracy in 2000,” the Maryland Democrat testified before the committee in April. Hoyer co-sponsored the law that created the EAC, the Help America Vote Act of 2002, after the turmoil surrounding the presidential election recounts in 2000.