Politics: Senate GOP blocks election security bill - - PressFrom - US

PoliticsSenate GOP blocks election security bill

03:05  26 june  2019
03:05  26 june  2019 Source:   thehill.com

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Senate GOP blocks election security bill© Greg Nash Senate GOP blocks election security bill

Senate Republicans on Tuesday blocked an attempt by Democrats to pass legislation aimed at bolstering the country's election infrastructure despite a stalemate in the chamber on the issue.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), the top Democrat on the Rules Committee, tried to call up the Election Security Act, which would require backup paper ballots and provide election security grants to states, before it was blocked.

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"We know there's a continued threat against our democracy. What we need to do now is address these facts with a common purpose, to protect our democracy, to make sure that our election systems are resilient against future attacks," Klobuchar said from the Senate floor.

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Under the Senate's rules any one senator can try to pass a bill or resolution by unanimous consent, but any one senator can also block that request.

Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) objected, arguing that he and Klobuchar were trying to draft separate legislation together and that he didn't want to see election security become a partisan issue.

"I find myself at odds today with a partner in this ... we have worked together in a very nonpartisan way to be able to resolve this issue. I think we still can resolve this and we can actually get a result, but a partisan proposal will not get us an end results where both parties come together and get to resolve this," Lankford said from the Senate floor.

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Leahy’s amendment would strengthen election security ahead of the 2018 midterms by providing 0 million in grants to states. The amendment to one of the four annual Appropriations bills pending on the Senate Floor fell on a vote of 50 to 47, gaining support from a majority of senators but failing to

But McConnell vowed to block the bills from being voted on by the full Senate . “I think the majority leader is of the view that this debate reaches no Despite McConnell's seeming decision to block any election security -related bills outright, Blunt blamed Democrats' passage of HR 1 for the majority

Lankford and Klobuchar have partnered on election security bills, including the Secure Elections Act, during the previous Congress. The two senators are expected to reintroduce the bill. Lankford told The Hill last week that he was waiting for Klobuchar to sign off on changes to the legislation.

In addition to providing $1 billion in funding for states to bolster their cybersecurity and audits, the bill Klobuchar tried to pass on Tuesday would also require President Trump to release a strategy on how to protect U.S. institutions from cyber attacks.

Lankford argued that while he and Klobuchar agreed about the need for backup paper ballots, he said that funding from the federal government wouldn't get it implemented in every state by the presidential election.

"No matter how much money we threw at the states right now, they could not make that so by the 2020 presidential election. It's not possible to be able to get there," he said.

Senate rejects House-backed version of border aid bill

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After Republicans blocked Obama's infrastructure plan, the president's Meanwhile, House GOP leaders are casting blame on the Senate for failing to act on 15 "forgotten" jobs bills , including a Also Thursday, the House is poised to approve bipartisan legislation to remove a Securities and Exchange

Secure Elections Act: GOP proponents of passing new election security legislation are preparing another push on the Secure Elections Act, which was yanked in the last Congress amid pushback from the White House and members of the Senate Republican caucus. This bill garnered bipartisan

The back-and-forth on the floor comes as election security legislation has hit a wall in the GOP-controlled Senate.

House Democrats passed a sweeping election and ethics reform bill earlier this year and are preparing a second wave of legislation aimed at responding to special counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russia's election meddling in 2016.

But Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), the chairman of the Rules Committee and a member of GOP leadership, has indicated that he won't bring up election security legislation in his committee, the Senate panel with primary jurisdiction on the issue.

Democrats have seized on Mueller's findings, as well as Trump's comments earlier this month where he suggested he was open to taking information on an opponent from a foreign government, as evidence that Congress needs to pass additional legislation.

Democrats worry that Trump's remarks, in particular, could be seen by foreign governments as an invitation to meddle in the 2020 presidential election.

"There is a presidential election before us and if a few counties in one swing state or an entire state get hacked into there's no backup paper ballots and we can't figure out what happened, the entire election will be called into question," Klobuchar added on Tuesday.

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