Senate passes bill to deny entry for individuals who meddle in US elections
© Keren Carrion
The Senate cleared legislation on Monday night to block individuals who meddle in U.S. elections from being able to enter the United States.
 
The legislation, known as the Defending Elections against Trolls from Enemy Regimes Act (DETER Act), easily passed the Senate by unanimous consent — a move that any one senator could have blocked.
 
The bill, spearheaded by Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGOP senators applaud Biden for global vaccine donation plans Lindsey Graham: Dismissal of Wuhan lab leak theory cost Trump 2020 election Tim Scott: Could be 'very hard' to reach police reform deal by June deadline MORE (R-S.C.) and Dick DurbinDick DurbinTrump DOJ demanded metadata on 73 phone numbers and 36 email addresses, Apple says Overnight Defense: Pentagon details military construction projects getting .2B restored from wall funds | Biden chooses former commander to lead Navy | Bill seeks to boost visa program for Afghans who helped US Senate bill would add visas, remove hurdles to program for Afghans who helped US MORE (D-Ill.), would block individuals from being able to obtain a visa if they were attempting to or had engaged in "improper interference in U.S. elections." 
 
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According to the legislation, that would include violating voting or campaign finance laws or trying to interfere in elections or a campaign while under the direction of a foreign government. 
 
"As we saw in the 2016 elections, Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinPutin says he's optimistic about working with Biden ahead of planned meeting Biden, Macron huddle on sidelines of G7 summit Biden must up the ante to get what he wants from Putin MORE’s Russia is attempting to strike at the very heart of the democratic values, freedoms, and liberty all Americans hold dear. By barring foreigners who improperly interfere in our elections from coming to the United States, the DETER Act sends a message to hostile nations across the world that the United States will not tolerate foreign interference in our elections," Graham said in a statement after the committee's vote.
 
The bill's Senate passage comes as election security is showing new, early signs of life in the chamber, even as top Republicans have expressed little public interest in moving broader election infrastructure legislation.
 
 
"I have some positive news. I have spoken to the Republican leader about that request. He has assured me we will have a briefing," Schumer said.
 
Senators have mounted a bipartisan push in the wake of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE's report to try to move election security through the Senate, arguing that it's needed in the wake of Russia's meddling in the 2016 election. 
 
Durbin, after his bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee, lamented the broader stalemate on election security legislation and pledged to get his legislation to President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump DOJ demanded metadata on 73 phone numbers and 36 email addresses, Apple says Putin says he's optimistic about working with Biden ahead of planned meeting Biden meets Queen Elizabeth for first time as president MORE's desk.
 
"Unfortunately, Congress has done little to prevent future efforts by Russia or others to influence and disrupt the 2020 elections,” Durbin said.
 
Mueller warned about election interference during a press conference last week, which marked his first public comments since he wrapped up his two-year investigation earlier this year. 
 
"I will close by reiterating the central allegation of our indictments — that there were multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election. That allegation deserves the attention of every American," Mueller told reporters.