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 HoyerThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the Air Line Pilots Association - Negotiators 'far apart' as talks yield little ahead of deadline On The Money: Pessimism grows as coronavirus talks go down to the wire | Jobs report poised to light fire under COVID-19 talks | Tax preparers warn unemployment recipients could owe IRS Overnight Health Care: Ohio governor tests positive for COVID-19 ahead of Trump's visit | US shows signs of coronavirus peak, but difficult days lie ahead | Trump: COVID-19 vaccine may be ready 'right around' Election Day 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 McConnellCoronavirus talks collapse as negotiators fail to reach deal Pelosi, Schumer say White House declined T coronavirus deal COVID-19 bill limiting liability would strike the wrong balance 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 SchumerChuck SchumerPostal Service says it lost .2 billion over three-month period A three-trillion dollar stimulus, but Charles Schumer for renewable energy — leading businesses want to change that Democrats try to force Trump to boost medical supplies production 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) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout 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.