Senate Republicans Reject More Money For Election Security
On Wednesday, Republicans rejected a Democratic proposal to provide states with more election security ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.
Senators voted 50-47 against adding an amendment that would have provided the funding. Sixty votes were needed to include the proposal, spearheaded by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), that would have provided $250 million more for state election security grants.
“It is time that we heed the clear warning of the intelligence community and take action,” Leahy, said in a statement. “It is our obligation to take these attacks on our states seriously, and to step in with the necessary resources to defend our elections.”
Republicans argue more funding is not needed and that states haven’t yet spent the $380 million previously approved by Congress.
“There’s $380 million that’s already allocated that hasn’t been spent ― not a dime,” Sen. Bill Cassidy told the Huffington Post. “No one explained to me why we needed $250 million more.”
Sen. James Lankford (R-Oklahoma) said it was “far too early” for the Senate to sign off on more money. “We don’t know how the first $380 million has even been spent, and the intelligence committee did an extensive research on how much money was needed and the $380 million amount was what was needed for the moment,” he told The Hill.
Leahy fired back, saying the Congress should approve more money before the election. “The president is not going to act. The duty has fallen to us. Let’s not after an election find out that this country was defenseless against attacks from Russia and say oh, gosh, we should have done something,” Leahy said.
Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), a potential 2020 presidential candidate, told the Huffington Post, “Clearly the threat is larger and we should be taking a lot more efforts to secure the ballot.” He added, “We have a real ongoing threat by a foreign power that’s trying to undermine the security of our elections.”