Senate Republicans on Tuesday blocked an attempt by Democrats to pass legislation aimed at bolstering the country's election infrastructure despite a stalemate in the chamber on the issue.
 
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), the top Democrat on the Rules Committee, tried to call up the Election Security Act, which would require backup paper ballots and provide election security grants to states, before it was blocked.
 
"We know there's a continued threat against our democracy. What we need to do now is address these facts with a common purpose, to protect our democracy, to make sure that our election systems are resilient against future attacks," Klobuchar said from the Senate floor.
 
ADVERTISEMENT
Under the Senate's rules, any one senator can try to pass a bill or resolution by unanimous consent, but any one senator can also block that request.
 
 
"I find myself at odds today with a partner in this … we have worked together in a very nonpartisan way to be able to resolve this issue. I think we still can resolve this and we can actually get a result, but a partisan proposal will not get us an end results where both parties come together and get to resolve this," Lankford said from the Senate floor. 
 
Lankford and Klobuchar have partnered on election security bills, including the Secure Elections Act, during the previous Congress. The two senators are expected to reintroduce the bill. Lankford told The Hill last week that he was waiting for Klobuchar to sign off on changes to the legislation.
 
In addition to providing $1 billion in funding for states to bolster their cybersecurity and audits, the bill Klobuchar tried to pass on Tuesday would also require President TrumpDonald John TrumpButtigieg surges ahead of Iowa caucuses Biden leads among Latino Democrats in Texas, California Kavanaugh hailed by conservative gathering in first public speech since confirmation MORE to release a strategy on how to protect U.S. institutions from cyberattacks.
 
Lankford argued that while he and Klobuchar agreed about the need for backup paper ballots, he said that funding from the federal government wouldn't get it implemented in every state prior to the presidential election.
 
"No matter how much money we threw at the states right now, they could not make that so by the 2020 presidential election. It's not possible to be able to get there," he said.
 
The back-and-forth on the floor comes as election security legislation has hit a wall in the GOP-controlled Senate.
 
House Democrats passed a sweeping election and ethics reform bill earlier this year and are preparing a second wave of legislation aimed at responding to special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSpeier says impeachment inquiry shows 'very strong case of bribery' by Trump Gowdy: I '100 percent' still believe public congressional hearings are 'a circus' Comey: Mueller 'didn't succeed in his mission because there was inadequate transparency' MORE's report on Russia's election meddling in 2016. 
 
But Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntOvernight Health Care: Cigarette smoking rates at new low | Spread of vaping illness slowing | Dems in Congress push to block Trump abortion rule GOP senators balk at lengthy impeachment trial Alcohol industry races to save tax break by year-end deadline MORE (Mo.), the chairman of the Rules Committee and a member of GOP leadership, has indicated that he won't bring up election security legislation in his committee, the Senate panel with primary jurisdiction on the issue.
 
Democrats have seized on Mueller's findings, as well as Trump's comments earlier this month where he suggested he was open to taking information on an opponent from a foreign government, as evidence that Congress needs to pass additional legislation.
 
Democrats worry that Trump's remarks, in particular, could be seen by foreign governments as an invitation to meddle in the 2020 presidential election.
 
"There is a presidential election before us and if a few counties in one swing state or an entire state get hacked into there's no backup paper ballots and we can't figure out what happened, the entire election will be called into question," Klobuchar said Tuesday.