House GOP thwarts Dems on funding for election security

July 23, 2018

On July 19, House Republicans thwarted a Democratic effort to add new funding for election security measures—opening the party up to yet more criticism in the wake of President Donald Trump’s s bizarre news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki earlier in the week, based on a report by Mic.

The GOP members of the house refused to consider an amendment offered up by Representative Mike Quigly, an Illinois Democrat, which would have provided $380 million more in budget for the Election Assistance Commission. In a vote of 217-199, the House approved an appropriations bill without the amendment.

The amendment that Democrats sought to add to a bill would have beefed up security for voting systems across the country in the wake of warnings that Russia is continuing to try to meddle in U.S. elections, the news outlet said.

Quigley commented on the defeat, saying, “Our election infrastructure remains outdated, low-tech, and nowhere near where it needs to be to prevent future intrusions. Not only do we know that in the lead up to the 2016 elections, the Russians targeted the election systems of at least 21 States and as many as 39, but through the Special Counsel’s investigation we now have the names of 12 Russian intelligence officers that carried it out.

“When President Trump was given the opportunity to challenge Putin in Helsinki this week,” Quigley added, “he instead condemned his own intelligence agencies while praising the Russian President without reservation. It was embarrassing, it was un-American, and it was a clear sign from the President that he will continue to stand by as Putin orchestrates additional attacks on our democracy.

This latest episode of American capitulation to the Russians was a step too far for many of my Republican colleagues who issued statements breaking from the President’s comments. But carefully crafted tweets won’t stop the Russians from attacking our elections. This moment demands action. 

Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland sought to build support for the amendment with a fiery speech on the House floor, in which he said the amendment addressed “one of the most pressing issues of our time,” Mic reported.

The director of the national intelligence has said there is a flashing red danger signal similar to the one that happened before 9/11,” Hoyer said in a speech on the House floor. “This amendment responds by providing for us to partner with our states to slam the door in the face of the Russian bear, or any other adversary who seeks to steal the integrity of our elections. The flashing red light calls us to action, surely we can rise above pandering to party and Putin to act on behalf of our freedom and our security.”

Polls show that Trump’s meeting with Putin is deeply unpopular among voters. Only 32% of voters approved of Trump’s meeting with the Russian leader, according to a CBS News poll released Thursday morning. What’s more, fully 89% of Democrats said they “believe” what U.S. intelligence agencies have said about Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Research contact: @SalvantoCBS

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