Senate & Campaign Finance The Senate began its long-awaited debate of the McCain/Feingold campaign finance reform bill today. The bill would ban "soft money", unregulated contributions to political parties that are not used directly for the election of a candidate. Every Democrat in the Senate backs the bill, but only three Republicans do, meaning support falls far short of the 60 votes needed to overcome an inevitable filibuster. Today Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott opened the debate with a harsh attack on President Clinton's fundraising activities. NPR's Elizabeth Arnold reports.