House, Senate Democrats to prioritize election security this fall

House, Senate Democrats to prioritize election security this fall

The Democratic leaders of the House and the Senate plan to prioritize election security this fall, continuing to put pressure on Republicans in the Senate to allow votes on bills intended to prevent foreign interference in elections. 

In a letter to colleagues on Thursday, House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerThis week: Tensions flare over Schiff, impeachment inquiry House Republicans 'demand the release of the rules' on impeachment Scalise, Cole introduce resolution to change rules on impeachment MORE (D-Md.) wrote that the House “may take up additional legislation to strengthen election security” in the next work period.

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A spokesperson for Hoyer did not respond to request for comment on what elements of election security the new legislation may address.

If the House votes on another election security bill, it would be the third major election security bill brought to the floor since Democrats took control of the House in January.

The House previously passed the For the People Act in March, a sweeping voting reform bill, and then the SAFE Act specifically around election security in June.

Both are stalled in the Senate, however, where Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump urges GOP to fight for him Senate Dems signal they'll support domestic spending package Trump's top picks for Homeland Security chief are ineligible for job: reports MORE (Ky.) has blocked them due to concerns around federal control of elections and other issues in the bills unrelated to election security.

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTurkey says soldier killed despite cease-fire in Syria Schumer calls for FDA to probe reports of contaminated baby food How Trump and Pelosi went from bad to worse MORE (D-N.Y.) also announced his intention to prioritize election security legislation in a separate letters to colleagues on Thursday. 

Schumer cited attempted Russian interference during the 2016 elections, as compiled in the report put together by former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerFox News legal analyst says Trump call with Ukraine leader could be 'more serious' than what Mueller 'dragged up' Lewandowski says Mueller report was 'very clear' in proving 'there was no obstruction,' despite having 'never' read it Fox's Cavuto roasts Trump over criticism of network MORE, in calling for action to secure U.S. elections.

“The American people have also called for greater action to secure our elections,” Schumer wrote. “Leader McConnell has blocked efforts by Senate Democrats to pass common sense election security legislation. We must continue our push to protect our elections at the federal, state, and local levels, especially in the upcoming Senate appropriations process.” 

Prior to the August recess, Senate Democrats led a sustained effort to pressure McConnell to allow votes on election security legislation, with Democrats attempting to pass multiple bills by unanimous consent. Republicans blocked these attempts. 

The Senate did pass two bills earlier this year that would make hacking voting systems a federal crime and would deny U.S. visas to individuals who attempt to meddle in American elections.

The House Blue Dog Coalition, a group of 26 moderate Democrats, added its support on Thursday for passage of election security legislation, sending a letter to the leaders of the House and Senate urging them to find a bipartisan solution to the issue.