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House Democrats include $3.6 billion for mail-in voting in new stimulus bill

House Democrats include $3.6 billion for mail-in voting in new stimulus bill
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House Democrats have included $3.6 billion in election funding as part of the $3 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill they rolled out on Tuesday.

The funding is meant to assist states in addressing new challenges posed by holding elections during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as expanding mail-in and early in-person voting.

At least 50 percent of the funds would be required to go to local governments to help administer elections, and states would have until late next year to access the funds. 

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The House is expected to vote on the stimulus package on Friday, but the outlook for the election funds passing in the GOP-led Senate remains unclear.

Senate Republicans have broadly pushed back on calls to immediately approve more stimulus money, saying lawmakers should weigh the impact of the trillions in spending already approved by Congress.

The coronavirus stimulus package signed into law by President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump vows 'No more money for RINOS,' instead encouraging donations to his PAC Federal judge rules 'QAnon shaman' too dangerous to be released from jail Pelosi says Capitol riot was one of the most difficult moments of her career MORE in March included $400 million for elections. Democrats have pushed for a total of $4 billion to be allocated for elections, with the addition of the new funds proposed Tuesday totaling to this amount. 

State officials on both sides of the aisle have supported Congress sending more election funds in recent months, as states increasingly face the threat of bankruptcy from the coronavirus crisis.

House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi says Capitol riot was one of the most difficult moments of her career Hillary Clinton calls for women to 'repair' COVID-19's 'damage' on women's rights Republicans' stonewall forces Democrats to pull bill honoring Capitol Police MORE (D-Calif.) has consistently supported vote-by-mail funding, along with political figures including former first lady Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaMichelle Obama to be inducted into Women's Hall of Fame Michelle Obama slams 'partisan actions' to 'curtail access to ballot box' Michelle Obama on conversations with her daughters: 'Me and Barack, we can't get a word in' MORE and Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenSenate rejects Sanders minimum wage hike Philly city council calls on Biden to 'cancel all student loan debt' in first 100 days Hillicon Valley: High alert as new QAnon date approaches Thursday | Biden signals another reversal from Trump with national security guidance | Parler files a new case MORE (D-Mass.). 

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President Trump and other Republicans leaders have by contrast expressed concerns that mail-in voting could lead to voter fraud and could hurt Republican election chances. 

Democratic Sens. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharDemocrats near pressure point on nixing filibuster  Hillicon Valley: China implicated in Microsoft breach | White House adds Big Tech critic | QAnon unfazed after false prediction FDA signals plan to address toxic elements in baby food MORE (Minn.), Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenHow to fix America's broken unemployment systems Senate approves sweeping coronavirus measure in partisan vote Senate inches toward COVID-19 vote after marathon session MORE (Ore.) and Christopher CoonsChris Andrew CoonsSenate approves sweeping coronavirus measure in partisan vote The eight Democrats who voted 'no' on minimum wage Justice Democrats call moderates' votes against minimum wage hike 'unconscionable' MORE (Del.) have led the charge in the Senate for more funding, with Klobuchar and Wyden also introducing a bill to promote election changes that would make it easier for Americans to vote during the pandemic.

Political action groups including Stand Up America have also pushed for mail-in voting funds. Stand Up America Founder and President Sean Eldridge applauded the inclusion of the $3.6 billion. 

“We applaud House Democrats for fighting to protect our democracy and working to provide states the critical resources they need to expand mail-in voting and make in-person voting safer,” Eldridge told The Hill in a statement. “Now the question is whether [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump ramps up battle with Republican leadership RNC fires back at Trump, says it 'has every right' to use his name in fundraising appeals Blunt retirement shakes up Missouri Senate race MORE and Senate Republicans will attempt to suppress the vote in the middle of a pandemic by refusing to give states the election assistance that they need.”