Dems want to boost FBI budget to fight Russia's election interference

Dems want to boost FBI budget to fight Russia's election interference
© Greg Nash

Congressional Democratic leadership wants to boost the FBI's budget in next month's government funding bill to help fight Russian interference in the 2018 midterm elections.

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerSchumer mourns death of 'amazing' father Feehery: The honest contrarian Biden administration to release oil from strategic reserve: reports MORE (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiFive reasons for Biden, GOP to be thankful this season Bipartisan success in the Senate signals room for more compromise The GOP's post-1/6 playbook is clear — and it's dangerous MORE (D-Calif.), as well as top Democrats on the House and Senate Appropriations committees, sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellRepublicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves Graham emerges as go-to ally for Biden's judicial picks Five reasons for Biden, GOP to be thankful this season MORE (R-Ky.) and House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanNo time for the timid: The dual threats of progressives and Trump Juan Williams: Pelosi shows her power Cheney takes shot at Trump: 'I like Republican presidents who win re-election' MORE (R-Wis.) urging them to support the increase.

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"These attacks and Putin’s ongoing efforts to again interfere in our upcoming elections demand a robust and urgent response, and Congress must respond immediately to attacks on our democracy by a foreign adversary," the Democratic lawmakers wrote in the letter.

They are asking for a $300 million increase in the FBI's budget to help target and counteract the influence of Russian and other foreign officials.

"This additional funding should be targeted to ensure the resources and manpower to counter the influence of hostile foreign actors operating in the U.S., especially Russian operatives operating on our social media platforms," they wrote in the letter.

They also want additional money for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Congress has until March 23 to pass the mammoth spending bill, known as an omnibus.

Schumer declined to say in a separate call with reporters on Wednesday if Democrats would oppose the funding bill if the extra money for the intelligence community isn't included.

"We're not drawing lines in the sand. We're going to push hard to get this funding," he said.

In addition to the extra funding, Schumer and Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden renominates Powell as Fed chair Senate Democrats look to fix ugly polling numbers The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - Gosar censured as GOP drama heightens MORE (D-Minn.) separately sent a letter to Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsAn independent commission should review our National Defense Strategy Overnight Hillicon Valley — Scrutiny over Instagram's impact on teens Former national security officials warn antitrust bills could help China in tech race MORE, the director of national intelligence, and Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenFar-left bullies resort to harassing, shaming Kyrsten Sinema — it won't work Ex-Trump official: 'No. 1 national security threat I've ever seen' is GOP Left-leaning group to track which companies hire former top Trump aides MORE, the DHS secretary, asking for them to release a public report detailing how Russia is trying to interfere in the 2018 elections.

They also want them to update relevant congressional committees about any threats to the U.S. election system.

"The least we can do is ensure that state election officials – the people on the front lines of our democratic process – have the information they need to combat threats. This is vital to protecting our national security against cyberattacks," they wrote.