Senate Democrats to try to force additional election security votes

Senate Democrats to try to force additional election security votes
© Aaron Schwartz

Senate Democrats will try to force votes on additional election security legislation as they aim to pressure Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Health Care: GOP senator says drug price action unlikely this year | House panel weighs ban on flavored e-cigs | New York sues Juul McConnell hopes Senate impeachment trial 'not too lengthy a process' Former Speaker Boehner's official portrait unveiled MORE (R-Ky.) into taking action on the issue.

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis Schumer2020 Republicans accuse Schumer of snubbing legislation Schumer: Leadership trying to work out competing surprise medical bill measures Top GOP senator: Drug pricing action unlikely before end of year MORE (D-N.Y.) told reporters Tuesday that Democrats will go to the floor to try to bring up the bills by unanimous consent, a move that will force a GOP senator to come to the floor and block the bills or let them pass.

"We're going to hold stand-alone votes on the many bills that already exist on election security," Schumer told reporters, outlining the Senate Democrats' strategy.

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The New York senator added that Democrats would push for additional election security funding in the upcoming budget and appropriations negotiations. House Democrats included $600 million for the Election Assistance Commission in an appropriations bill.

Schumer didn't specify what level of funding Senate Democrats will ask for, except that it will be "more robust."

"It is Congress's solemn obligation to protect our elections … and any leader who doesn't do that is abdicating their responsibilities to our grand democracy," Schumer added on Tuesday.

The Senate is expected to start debate on the National Defense Authorization Act this week. Democrats have offered some election security-related amendments, but it's unclear if they'll be allowed to come up for a vote.

The push for additional election security votes comes as Democrats have launched a broader effort to try to pressure McConnell into moving election security legislation.

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOvernight Health Care: GOP senator says drug price action unlikely this year | House panel weighs ban on flavored e-cigs | New York sues Juul Five things to know about Tuesday's impeachment hearings McConnell hopes Senate impeachment trial 'not too lengthy a process' MORE (D-Calif.) told reporters late last week that House Democrats will move a new package of election security bills, arguing the president has been "so cavalier to disregard, to be indifferent to law and any sense of ethics about who we are as a country to say he would invite foreign interventions."

The package, according to Pelosi, will include legislation that requires campaigns to report contact from foreign nationals to the FBI, mandates states use paper ballots and closes "foreign money loopholes."

But there are no signs that the election security legislation will be able to move in the GOP-controlled Senate, where Republicans blocked legislation last week requiring that campaigns report contact from foreign nationals to the FBI.

Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntMichelle Obama presents Lin-Manuel Miranda with National Portrait Award GOP divided over impeachment trial strategy Overnight Health Care: Cigarette smoking rates at new low | Spread of vaping illness slowing | Dems in Congress push to block Trump abortion rule MORE (R-Mo.), the chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, has said he does not intend to bring up legislation in his committee, a first step to getting a vote on the floor.

And McConnell told Fox News last week that he wouldn't support legislation that took away control of elections from state and local governments.

“I’m open to considering legislation, but it has to be directed in a way that doesn’t undermine state and local control of elections. The Democrats … would like to nationalize everything. They want the federal government to take over broad swaths of the election process because they think that would somehow benefit them,” McConnell said.

“Election security I do care about, but we need to make sure the subject is election security.”