WASHINGTON -- With the numbers against them, Senate opponents of overhauling campaign finance regulations said Tuesday they would not stand in the way of a final vote on the measure.
"We're not looking for confrontation here, we're looking for results," said Senate Republican leader Trent Lott of Mississippi, an adversary of a bill that would ban unregulated donations by corporations, unions and individuals to national political parties.
Lott said he hoped work on the campaign finance bill could be finished quickly, perhaps this week, so the Senate could move on to major energy legislation.
The Senate last April, on a 59-41 vote, approved legislation that would ban the hundreds of millions of dollars in unregulated "soft money" given to parties. It also prohibits, in the final 30 days of a primary or 60 days before a general election, the use of soft money to finance some "issue ads" that are in reality aimed at either endorsing or attacking a candidate.
The House, led by Reps. Christopher Shays, R-Conn., and Martin Meehan, D-Mass., earlier this month passed very similar legislation by a 240-189 vote. Supporters are seeking quick Senate passage of the House bill so that it can go directly to President Bush, who is expected to sign it.
But Senate opponents, led by Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., had indicated they might filibuster the bill, either to kill it or force it into a House-Senate conference where it could be stalled indefinitely.
McConnell, however, told his colleagues on the Senate floor Tuesday that he was ready to reach an agreement on how to "in an orderly fashion complete the bill."