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House Republicans introduce legislation to give states $400 million for elections

House Republicans introduce legislation to give states $400 million for elections
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A group of House Republicans on Monday introduced legislation that would appropriate $400 million to states to address election challenges stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Emergency Assistance for Safe Elections (EASE) Act would designate $200 million to assist with sanitizing in-person polling stations and purchasing personal protective equipment, while a further $100 million would go towards recruiting and training new poll workers, following a nationwide shortage of workers due to the pandemic.

The final $100 million would be appropriated for states to maintain the accuracy of their voter registration lists.

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Other provisions in the bill include measures to increase the cybersecurity of the elections process, including establishing an election cyber assistance unit at the Election Assistance Commission, and updating voluntary voting system guidelines established by the Help America Vote Act to cover next-generation voting technology, such as e-pollbooks. 

Rep. Rodney DavisRodney Lee DavisThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Senate path uncertain after House approves Jan. 6 panel Capitol Police Board signals resistance to reform McCarthy says that he will not support bipartisan deal for Jan. 6 commission MORE (R-Ill.), the ranking member of the House Administration Committee and the lead sponsor of the bill, said in a statement that it was “critical” the bill is included in the next COVID-19 relief package to help states struggling with new election challenges. 

“Most states are faced with running essentially two kinds of elections this fall: in-person and expanded mail-in voting, which means added costs to get it right,” Davis said. “When states failed to do this in recent primaries, the risk of disenfranchising voters increased significantly.”

Davis emphasized that “continuing to engage with local election officials and provide oversight of states will be necessary to protect the right to vote in the November election.”

Other sponsors of the bill include House Intelligence Committee ranking member Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesGOP's Stefanik defends Trump DOJ secret subpoenas CNN reporter's phone and email records secretly obtained by Trump administration: report Hillicon Valley: Colonial Pipeline CEO says company paid hackers .4 million in ransomware attack | Facebook sets up 'special operations center' for content on Israeli-Palestinian conflict | Granholm expresses openness to pipeline cyber standards after MORE (R-Calif.), along with Reps. Brett GuthrieSteven (Brett) Brett GuthrieHillicon Valley: US, UK authorities say Russian hackers exploited Microsoft vulnerabilities | Lawmakers push for more cyber funds in annual appropriations | Google child care workers ask for transportation stipend Lawmakers push for increased cybersecurity funds in annual appropriations The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Emergent BioSolutions - House GOP drama intensifies; BIden sets new vax goal MORE (R-Ky.), Dan MeuserDaniel (Dan) MeuserREAD: The Republicans who voted to challenge election results MORE (R-Penn.), Don YoungDonald (Don) Edwin YoungOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden suspends Arctic oil leases issued under Trump |  Experts warn US needs to better prepare for hurricane season | Progressives set sights on Civilian Climate Corps Overnight Energy: Biden admin backs Trump approval of major Alaska drilling project | Senate Republicans pitch 8 billion for infrastructure | EPA to revise Trump rule limiting state authority to block pipelines Biden signs bill to help Alaska cruise industry MORE (R-Ark.), Elise StefanikElise Marie StefanikHouse fails to pass bill to promote credit fairness for LGTBQ-owned businesses GOP's Stefanik defends Trump DOJ secret subpoenas McCarthy pushes back on Biden criticism of GOP at NATO MORE (R-N.Y.), Ken CalvertKenneth (Ken) Stanton CalvertMORE (R-Calif.), Mario Diaz-BalartMario Rafael Diaz-BalartBottom line GOP lawmakers ask Biden administration for guidance on reopening cruise industry The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by Facebook — Biden delivers 100 million shots in 58 days, doses to neighbors MORE (R-Fla.), Michael McCaulMichael Thomas McCaulLawmakers urge Biden to be tough on cybersecurity during summit with Putin Key Republican: Putin meeting will be most 'important' and 'dangerous' of Biden trip Sunday shows preview: Biden foreign policy in focus as Dem tensions boil up back home MORE (R-Texas), Mike Garcia (R-Calif.), and Steve ChabotSteven (Steve) Joseph ChabotThe tale of the last bipartisan unicorns Fresh hurdles push timeline on getting China bill to Biden READ: The Republicans who voted to challenge election results MORE (R-Ohio).

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The legislation was introduced as leaders of the House and Senate lock heads over what measures to include in the next COVID-19 stimulus package.

The HEROES Act, a Democrat-backed stimulus package passed by the House along party lines in May, included $3.6 billion to help states address new concerns around elections, such as the influx in mail-in voting and ensuring in-person voting is safe. 

The proposed stimulus package rolled out by Senate Republicans last week did not include any funds, leading to strong concerns from officials on both sides of the aisle.

Congress previously appropriated $400 million for elections as part of the CARES Act stimulus package signed into law by President TrumpDonald TrumpKushner lands book deal, slated for release in 2022 Biden moves to undo Trump trade legacy with EU deal Progressives rave over Harrison's start at DNC MORE in March, but experts have argued $4 billion is needed to full address election challenges. 

A spokesperson for Davis told The Hill that Senate counterparts were "aware" of the new legislation, noting that Davis was “hopeful that this could be a more realistic starting point than what the House Democrats’ included in the Heroes Act, which also places a ton of mandates on states."

Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntGOP senator: I want to make Biden a 'one-half-term president' GOP Rep. Vicky Hartzler launches Missouri Senate bid Cryptocurrency industry lobbies Washington for 'regulatory clarity' MORE (R-Mo.), the chairman of the elections-focused Senate Rules Committee, told reporters last week that he would open to "putting a reasonable amount of money on the table" for elections, but would not support an amount as high as $3.6 billion.