In remarks on the floor of the Senate, the Senators asked for unanimous consent for immediate consideration of key election security legislation
WASHINGTON – Yesterday, just 377 days before the presidential election, Senators Mark Warner (D-VA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Ron Wyden (D-OR), asked for unanimous consent for the immediate consideration of legislation to stop foreign interference in our elections. Senator Warner spoke first and asked for the immediate consideration of the Foreign Influence Reporting in Elections (FIRE) Act (which is in the House SHIELD Act). Senator Klobuchar asked for the immediate consideration of the Stopping Harmful Interference in Elections for a Lasting Democracy (SHIELD) Act, which includes three Klobuchar provisions to secure U.S elections and passed the House yesterday. Senator Wyden asked for the immediate consideration of the Securing America's Federal Elections (SAFE) Act, legislation that passed the House of Representatives in June. Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) objected to all three requests, preventing the Senate from immediately considering these important election security measures.
“Earlier this month, the Senate Intelligence Committee released its report on Russia’s use of social media to undermine our democracy. The committee’s bipartisan conclusion is clear: Russia attacked our democracy in 2016. Their efforts are ongoing, and they will be back in 2020,” said Warner, Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. “The alarm bells are going off – and we are running out of time to do something about it. History will not look kindly on Republican leaders’ refusal to consider bipartisan election security legislation following Russia’s attack on our democracy.”
“The next major elections are just three hundred seventy seven days away,” said Klobuchar, Ranking Member of the Senate Rules Committee with jurisdiction over federal elections. “We must take action now to secure our elections. Fundamental to our democracy and our founding fathers was this simple idea that we would determine our fate in America. That we would not let foreign powers influence our elections. That is what this is about. It's about protecting our election hardware and infrastructure, but it is also about protecting us from disinformation campaigns.”
“Despite all of the ways foreign hackers have already made it into our election infrastructure, Congress has refused to arm state and county elections officials with the knowledge and funding they need to secure their systems,” said Wyden. “The SAFE Act has all three key elements recommended by our nation’s top cybersecurity experts: paper ballots, security standards, and post-election audits, as well as the funding necessary to make sure states can get the job done. I urge my Republican colleagues to reconsider their opposition to this vitally important legislation.”
In Senator Blackburn’s remarks she stated that the Senators were attempting to “circumvent going to the Rules Committee and trying to bring these bills to the floor,” despite the fact that multiple election security bills have been introduced since 2017 and have yet to be brought to the floor by Senate Republicans for an up or down vote. Last year, the Senate Rules Committee was scheduled to mark-up Ranking Member Klobuchar’s comprehensive election security legislation, and Republicans cancelled the markup the night before.