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 DavisHouse passes legislation to boost election security research House Republicans investigating California secretary of state's contract with Biden-linked firm House Democrats' campaign arm releases ads hitting 10 Republicans on health care 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 NunesSunday shows preview: Justice Ginsburg dies, sparking partisan battle over vacancy before election Sunday shows preview: With less than two months to go, race for the White House heats up Sunday shows preview: Republicans gear up for national convention, USPS debate continues in Washington MORE (R-Calif.), along with Reps. Brett GuthrieSteven (Brett) Brett GuthrieIgnore the misinformation: The FDA will ensure the safety of any COVID-19 vaccine House Republicans introduce legislation to give states 0 million for elections Hillicon Valley: Tech giants poised to weather coronavirus damage | Record Facebook-FTC deal approved | Bipartisan 5G bill introduced MORE (R-Ky.), Dan MeuserDaniel (Dan) MeuserMORE (R-Penn.), Don YoungDonald (Don) Edwin YoungFlorida Democrat introduces bill to recognize Puerto Rico statehood referendum House Democratic campaign leader predicts bigger majority Young wins Alaska GOP House primary MORE (R-Ark.), Elise StefanikElise Marie StefanikRepublicans cast Trump as best choice for women The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Pence rips Biden as radical risk GOP women offer personal testimonials on Trump MORE (R-N.Y.), Ken CalvertKenneth (Ken) Stanton CalvertMORE (R-Calif.), Mario Diaz-BalartMario Rafael Diaz-Balart'Trump show' convention sparks little interest on K Street Rep. Dan Meuser tests positive for COVID-19 Watchdog calls for probe into Gohmert 'disregarding public health guidance' on COVID-19 MORE (R-Fla.), Michael McCaulMichael Thomas McCaulHouse Republicans blame Chinese cover-up for coronavirus pandemic Engel subpoenas US global media chief Michael Pack Russia continues Navalny probe, wants to send additional investigators to Germany MORE (R-Texas), Mike Garcia (R-Calif.), and Steve ChabotSteven (Steve) Joseph ChabotLawmakers call for expanded AI role in education, business to remain competitive The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by The Air Line Pilots Association - Pence lauds Harris as 'experienced debater'; Trump, Biden diverge over debate prep The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by The Air Line Pilots Association - Trump, Biden couldn't be more different on climate change 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 John TrumpBubba Wallace to be driver of Michael Jordan, Denny Hamlin NASCAR team Graham: GOP will confirm Trump's Supreme Court nominee before the election Southwest Airlines, unions call for six-month extension of government aid 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 BluntThis week: Supreme Court fight over Ginsburg's seat upends Congress's agenda McConnell locks down key GOP votes in Supreme Court fight Murkowski: Supreme Court nominee should not be taken up before election 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.