In the Rules Committee last night, the Majority blocked a Democratic amendment restoring this funding from getting a vote on the House Floor
On the House Floor today, Rules Committee Ranking Member Jim McGovern (D-MA) called on Republicans to reverse their cut zeroing out funding for critical grants that would help fortify and protect election systems from cyber-hacking by hostile foreign powers like Russia.
This cut is $380 million less than the FY18 enacted level and equal to President Trump’s request. Last night in the Rules Committee, the Republicans blocked an amendment from Rep. Quigley (D-IL) restoring this funding from getting a vote on the House Floor.
“Do my Republican friends see what is happening? Is anybody paying attention over there? Russia meddled in our election and your response is to zero out funding for an election security assistance program. And then when we point it out, and tried to put the money back, you blocked the amendment. You won’t even allow us to debate the program. Apparently, the Republicans are afraid of having a fair fight about protecting our democracy. It’s indefensible,” said McGovern.
This move comes on the heels of Friday’s release of an indictment by the Department of Justice detailing how Russia hacked into a state electoral board website and stole voter information, launched a cyberattack against a voting equipment vendor, and attempted to hack the computers of individuals involved in administering elections.
“These charges are proof that our nation – our very democracy – is under attack,” said McGovern. “If the president isn’t willing to do more to prevent Putin from doing it again, then this Congress has an obligation to act – not gut the accounts that provide for election security.”
President Trump’s own intelligence community has made clear that the threat from hostile foreign powers persists. During a February 2018 Senate hearing, then CIA Director Mike Pompeo said the intelligence community had seen Russian activities and intentions to impact the next election cycle.
In that same hearing, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said Russia has taken steps to influence the 2018 U.S. midterm elections.
Despite these findings from President Trump’s intelligence community, Republican leaders in the House continue to block any effort by Democrats to provide this funding to help strengthen our election systems.