It’s almost enough to make you think the Russian fix is already in with Republicans for November. House Republicans have repeatedly resisted Democrats’ efforts to fund election systems protection. Russian asset Donald Trump spent less than half an hour with his national security team to discuss the issue, and now Senate Republicans are opposing the grants to states that the House Republicans blocked, as well.
Senate Democrats are trying to get $250 million in grants to states as soon as possible to upgrade their systems and make necessary fixes. Republicans say they’ve got enough money, ignoring the reports from the intelligence community that Russia is interfering right now. Ignoring the Russian hacker attack on Sen. Claire McCaskill’s campaign. Ignoring the discovery by Facebook of a new “sophisticated” attack possible from Russia showing that they are at it again. That’s not to mention the infrastructure hacking they’ve been doing.
That gives plenty of fodder for Democrats to turn this into a sustained floor fight, which is precisely what they intend to do.
Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-VT) is sponsoring an amendment to a “minibus” spending bill the Senate is considering, a bunch of smaller, less controversial spending bills Congress hopes to dispense with before dealing with the remainder in a continuing resolution to keep government open past September 30. “The Trump budget would ZERO OUT election security funds,” Leahy tweeted. “My Senate amendment, blocked by House GOP, would continue much-needed funding for election security grants. The Senate should be allowed to vote on it.”
It’s needed. A bipartisan group of 21 states attorneys general is pleading with Congress to pass this funding. “The integrity of the nation’s voting infrastructure is a bipartisan issue, and one that affects not only the national political landscape, but elections at the state, county, municipal, and local levels,” they wrote in a letter to Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee and Sen. Roy Blunt, Senate Rules and Administration Committee Chairman.
The only reason Republicans could possibly have for opposing this is that they think they’ll need all the help they can get to win in November.