McConnell blocks two election security bills

The Hill — By Jordain Carney

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) blocked two election security measures on Thursday, arguing Democrats are trying to give themselves a “political benefit.”

The move comes a day after former special counsel Robert Mueller warned about election meddling in 2020, saying Russia was laying the groundwork to interfere in the 2020 election “as we sit here.”

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) had tried to get consent Thursday to pass a House bill that requires the use of paper ballots and includes funding for the Election Assistance Commission. It passed the House 225-184 with one Republican voting for it.

But McConnell objected, saying Schumer was trying to pass “partisan legislation.”

“Clearly this request is not a serious effort to make a law. Clearly something so partisan that it only received one single solitary Republican vote in the House is not going to travel through the Senate by unanimous consent,” McConnell said.

Under the Senate’s rules any one senator can request consent to pass a bill, but any one senator can object.

Schumer argued that if McConnell didn’t like that bill “let’s put another bill on the floor and debate it.”

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) also asked for consent to pass legislation that would require candidates, campaign officials and their family members to notify the FBI of assistance offers from foreign governments.

McConnell also objected to that bill.

In his testimony before Congress on Wednesday, Mueller warned about continued Russian interference in U.S. elections.

“We are expecting them to do it again during the next campaign,” Mueller said.

Schumer cited Mueller’s testimony on Thursday as a prime example that more legislation is needed from Congress.

“It was important for all us to hear straight from Robert Mueller’s mouth that the threat from Russia and other foreign adversaries seeking to meddle in our elections is very real and still very much ongoing,” Schumer said.

“Mueller’s testimony was a clarion call for election security. Mueller’s testimony should be a wake-up call to every American, Democrat, Republican, liberal, conservative, that the integrity of our elections is at stake. … This is all about the future of this country,” he added.

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