Senate rejects effort to beef up states' election security spending 
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Senators on Wednesday rejected a Democratic proposal to provide states with more election security funding ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. 
 
Senators voted 50-47 against adding an amendment from Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyDemocratic senators call for funding for local media in coronavirus stimulus Graham backs Trump, vows no money for WHO in next funding bill Justice IG pours fuel on looming fight over FISA court MORE (D-Vt.) that would have provided the funding. Sixty votes were needed to include the proposal in the appropriations legislation under Senate rules. 
 
 
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The proposal, spearheaded by Leahy, would have provided $250 million for state election security grants. 
 
Republicans argue more funding isn't needed and that states haven't yet spent the $380 million previously approved by Congress. 
 
 
"We don't know how the first $380 million has even been spent, and the intelligence committee did an extensive research on how much money was needed and the $380 million amount was what was needed for the moment," he said. 
 
Leahy fired back that the "lights are blinking red" and Congress should approve more money before the election. 
 
"The president is not going to act. The duty has fallen to us. Let's not after an election find out that this country was defenseless against attacks from Russia and say oh, gosh, we should have done something," Leahy said. 
 
The Senate fight over election security comes as lawmakers are signaling that they are increasingly concerned that Russia will try to interfere in the 2018 election. 
 
 
"And for myself what I've said is we better not see the Russians' hand in the 2018 election because there are going to be serious consequences if there are," he said.
 
The Daily Beast reported on Thursday that Russian intelligence agents targeted Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillGOP lukewarm on talk of airline bailout Claire McCaskill: Ron Johnson is an 'embarrassing tool' To winnow primary field, Obama and other Democrats must speak out  MORE (D-Mo.) with an attempted breach ahead of the November elections.