House panel includes $500 million election security grant in proposed appropriations bill

The House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday included $500 million for election security grants in one of the proposed appropriations bills for next year. 

The proposed fiscal 2022 Financial Services and General Government bill would give $500 million to the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) to distribute to states and territories to help address election security concerns. This includes moving to voting machines with voter-verified paper ballots and improving election administration. 

The EAC would be given 45 days to distribute the funds once the bill is signed into law.

The election security grant is $400 million above the $100 million the EAC requested as part of its fiscal 2022 funding request.

Congress has approved more than $800 million in election security grants since 2018, and the coronavirus stimulus bill signed into law by former President Trump in early 2020 included $400 million to help election officials address voting challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The House Appropriations Committee last year attempted to do more, and included $500 million in the fiscal 2021 EAC funding, which the House approved along party lines. The funding was not approved by the Senate amid Republican opposition.

Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), chair of the House Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, said in a statement Wednesday that the funds would help in “safeguarding the future of our democracy.”

“The investments in the Financial Services and General Government bill start putting the government on the side of small business, the middle class, and the vulnerable, not the wealthy and big corporations,” House Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) added in a separate statement.

The proposed funds come after a highly contentious presidential election last year, and ongoing concerns around election security and the safety of election officials. 

Election security advocates pushed for as much as $4 billion in federal election security grants before the 2020 elections, and election officials argued that states needed more funds for cybersecurity and to address disruptions caused by the pandemic. 

The For the People Act, which the Senate voted along party lines Tuesday not to debate, includes provisions requiring states to use voter-verified paper ballots to increase election security, and designates further funds to shore up election infrastructure against threats.

Tags Donald Trump Election Security House Appropriations Committee Mike Quigley Rosa DeLauro
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