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Senate GOP blocks three election security bills for second day

Senate Republicans blocked three election security bills on Wednesday, marking the second time in as many days they've stymied legislation.

Sens. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerSenate Intel leadership urges American vigilance amid foreign election interference Intel officials say Iran, Russia seeking to influence election Senate Intel leaders warn of election systems threats MORE (D-Va.), Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharStart focusing on veterans' health before they enlist Durbin says he will run for No. 2 spot if Dems win Senate majority Democrats seem unlikely to move against Feinstein MORE (D-Minn.) and Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenPlaintiff and defendant from Obergefell v. Hodges unite to oppose Barrett's confirmation Senate Democrats call for ramped up Capitol coronavirus testing House Democrats slam FCC chairman over 'blatant attempt to help' Trump MORE (D-Ore.) asked for unanimous consent to pass three election-related bills.

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But they were blocked by Sen. Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnSenate GOP to drop documentary series days before election hitting China, Democrats over coronavirus Senate Judiciary to vote on subpoena for Twitter CEO next week Government efforts to 'fix' social media bias overlooks the destruction of our discourse MORE (R-Tenn.), who noted that the unsuccessful attempt was the latest by Democrats to pass election security bills in the Senate ahead of 2020.

“You know, it’s not a good sign if you’re doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result," Blackburn said.

Under Senate rules, any one senator can ask to vote on or pass a bill. But because it requires unanimous support, any one senator can also block their requests.

Election security has become a point of contention during the Trump era. House Democrats have passed several election-related bills, including a sweeping ethics and election reform measure, but they've hit a wall in the GOP-controlled Senate.

Warner, the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, tried to pass legislation that would require campaign officials to report contacts with foreign nationals who are trying to make donations or coordinate with the campaign to the Federal Election Commission, which would notify the FBI.

“The alarm bells are going off and what are we doing? We’re running out of time to do something about it," Warner said from the Senate floor.

Warner added that if a foreign government offers to interfere to help a campaign "the appropriate response is not to say thank you. The appropriate response is to call the FBI."

House Democrats are in the middle of an impeachment inquiry focused on President TrumpDonald John TrumpGiuliani goes off on Fox Business host after she compares him to Christopher Steele Trump looks to shore up support in Nebraska NYT: Trump had 7 million in debt mostly tied to Chicago project forgiven MORE asking Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenGiuliani goes off on Fox Business host after she compares him to Christopher Steele Trump looks to shore up support in Nebraska Jeff Daniels narrates new Biden campaign ad for Michigan MORE and his son, Hunter Biden, and whether or not he held up aid to try to build pressure.

Klobuchar, a 2020 White House hopeful and the top Democrat on the Rules Committee, on Wednesday tried to pass legislation requiring campaigns to report “illicit offers” of election assistance from foreign governments or individuals to both the FBI and the Federal Election Commission, and take steps to ensure that political advertisements on social media are subject to the same stricter rules as ads on television or radio.

"It’s about protecting our election hardware and infrastructure but it is also about protecting us from this disinformation campaign, all of this really bad stuff," Klobuchar said.

The legislation, known as the SHIELD Act, is expected to get a vote in the House on Wednesday.

Wyden, meanwhile, tried to pass legislation, known as the SAFE Act, that would authorize more funding for the Election Assistance Commission and includes language that would ban voting machines from being connected to the internet and being produced in foreign countries.

Blackburn also objected to that bill.

“I just find it stunning that the Republican Party continues its wall-to-wall campaign of obstruction against election security," Wyden countered.

The back-and-forth on the Senate floor came after Sens. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneEnsuring more Americans have access to 5G technology Pence won't preside over Barrett's final confirmation vote Gaffes put spotlight on Meadows at tough time for Trump MORE (R-S.D.) and John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (R-La.) blocked an attempt by Democrats to pass legislation on Tuesday.