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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 DavisLawmakers propose draft bill to create Capitol riot commission Pelosi says 9/11-style commission to investigate Capitol breach is 'next step' Conservative House Republican welcomes Clark as chief of US Chamber 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 NunesNunes lawsuit against CNN thrown out Sunday shows preview: New COVID-19 variants spread in US; Redditors shake Wall Street with Gamestop stock GOP group launches billboard campaign urging Cruz, Hawley to resign MORE (R-Calif.), along with Reps. Brett GuthrieSteven (Brett) Brett GuthrieLawmakers debate role of prescription drugs and generics in health care costs The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by TikTok - Senate trial will have drama, but no surprise ending Overnight Health Care: New COVID-19 cases nationally drop below 100K for first time in 2021 | CDC warns states against lifting restrictions amid threat of virus variants | Health officials warn COVID-19 eradication unlikely MORE (R-Ky.), Dan MeuserDaniel (Dan) MeuserREAD: The Republicans who voted to challenge election results MORE (R-Penn.), Don YoungDonald (Don) Edwin YoungHaaland courts moderates during tense Senate confirmation hearing OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Haaland courts moderates during tense confirmation hearing | GOP's Westerman looks to take on Democrats on climate change | White House urges passage of House public lands package Haaland courts moderates during tense confirmation hearing MORE (R-Ark.), Elise StefanikElise Marie StefanikHere are the three GOP lawmakers who voted for the Equality Act Cuomo job approval drops 6 points amid nursing home controversy: poll House Democrats request documents from DHS intelligence office about Jan. 6 attack MORE (R-N.Y.), Ken CalvertKenneth (Ken) Stanton CalvertMORE (R-Calif.), Mario Diaz-BalartMario Rafael Diaz-BalartHere are the three GOP lawmakers who voted for the Equality Act Bottom line Three years later, father of Parkland shooting victim calls for meaningful school safety reform MORE (R-Fla.), Michael McCaulMichael Thomas McCaulBiden signs supply chain order after 'positive' meeting with lawmakers Hillicon Valley: Companies urge action at SolarWinds hearing | Facebook lifts Australian news ban | Biden to take action against Russia in 'weeks' Lawmakers to roll out legislation reorganizing State cyber office MORE (R-Texas), Mike Garcia (R-Calif.), and Steve ChabotSteven (Steve) Joseph ChabotREAD: The Republicans who voted to challenge election results House Republicans who didn't sign onto the Texas lawsuit Top GOP lawmaker touts 'more flexible' PPP loans in bipartisan proposal 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 TrumpDonald Trump Jr. calls Bruce Springsteen's dropped charges 'liberal privilege' Schiff sees challenges for intel committee, community in Trump's shadow McConnell says he'd back Trump as 2024 GOP nominee 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 BluntPassage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act is the first step to heal our democracy Microsoft, FireEye push for breach reporting rules after SolarWinds hack Biden's unity effort falters 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.