Senate

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 Graham (R-S.C.) and Dick Durbin (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.” 
 
{mosads}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 Putin’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.
 
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said from the Senate floor earlier Monday that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) had agreed to an all-members briefing on election security as lawmakers warn of the need to bolster election infrastructure ahead of the 2020 election.
 
“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 Mueller’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 Trump’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.
Tags 2020 election Charles Schumer DETER Act Dick Durbin Donald Trump election interference election meddling Lindsey Graham Mitch McConnell Mueller investigation Robert Mueller visa ban Vladimir Putin

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