One might wonder why, with the Bill of Rights still in force, we would need a special bill to guarantee free speech. The problem originates with the terribly flawed Federal Election Campaign Act which sets all sorts of arbitrary restrictions on political speech in clear violation of the Second Amendment. The original act was passed in 1971 and was riddled with inconsistencies and loopholes which were widely abused. To try to fix this a set of amendments was passed in 1974 and another set was passed in 2002 to revise the bill, and they went too far in the other direction, shutting down all sorts of political speech and contribution practices by private citizens. Two of the provisions have already been ruled unconstitutional in the case McConnell vs. FEC. It may seem strange that we need a bill to reiterate a right guaranteed in the Bill of Rights, but a court ruling suggested that the campaign finance restrictions could be extended to the internet to shut down or fine or impose restrictions on any blog which endorsed or supported a candidate, ran ads which could be considered campaign ads, or even quoted from campaign speeches. This might even include shutting down all political blogs for 60 days prior to a federal election date.
One outspoken supporter of the bill was House Speaker Dennis Hastert, who recently started his own blog. He's one of a growing number of Republicans who have embraced the internet as a way of communicating directly with their constituents in a very personal way. In contrast to Hastert, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi led the move of Democrats to vote against the bill. Pelosi did not choose to comment on the vote, but fellow House Democrat Marty Meehan commented: