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 WarnerTrump's Intel moves spark Democratic fury Where do we go from here? Conservation can show the way Hillicon Valley: Facebook, Twitter split on Bloomberg video | Sanders briefed on Russian efforts to help campaign | Barr to meet with Republicans ahead of surveillance fight MORE (D-Va.), Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharPoll: Sanders leads 2020 Democratic field with 28 percent, followed by Warren and Biden Sanders has wide leads in two of three battleground states: survey Democrats: It's Trump's world, and we're just living in it MORE (D-Minn.) and Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenRussian interference reports rock Capitol Hill McSally unveils bill to lower drug prices amid tough campaign Graham: Trump has 'all the legal authority in the world' to pardon Stone 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 BlackburnTikTok introduces new parental controls Abortion wars flare up in Congress Hillicon Valley: Judge approves T-Mobile, Sprint merger | FTC to review past Big Tech deals | State officials ask for more cybersecurity help | House nears draft bill on self-driving cars 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 TrumpSchiff blasts Trump for making 'false claims' about Russia intel: 'You've betrayed America. Again.' Poll: Sanders leads 2020 Democratic field with 28 percent, followed by Warren and Biden More than 6 in 10 expect Trump to be reelected: poll MORE asking Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenButtigieg campaign claims 'irregularities' in Nevada caucuses Poll: Sanders leads 2020 Democratic field with 28 percent, followed by Warren and Biden More than 6 in 10 expect Trump to be reelected: poll 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 ThuneMcConnell tees up votes on two abortion bills Senate votes to rein in Trump's power to attack Iran As many as eight GOP senators expected to vote to curb Trump's power to attack Iran MORE (R-S.D.) and John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (R-La.) blocked an attempt by Democrats to pass legislation on Tuesday.