Despite clear and compelling evidence of a Russian plot to disrupt the 2016 presidential election,partisanship has all but killed any chance that Congress will pass legislation to shore up election security before voters cast their ballots next year.
Republicans and Democrats in Congress largely agree with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s finding that Russia tried to meddle in U.S. democracy — and that foreign interference remains a serious threat.
“Russia’s ongoing efforts to interfere with our democracy are dangerous and disturbing,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, after Mueller finalized his investigation last month.
But McConnell has made it clear that he’s unlikely to allow the Senate to vote on any election-related legislation for the foreseeable future.
Republican Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri, who chairs the Senate Rules Committee that has jurisdiction over election security legislation, blames House Democrats for McConnell’s hardline stance. Blunt said Democrats overreached in January when they passed H.R. 1, a sweeping measure focused on voting rights, campaign finance, and government ethics….
David Popp, a spokesman for McConnell, said he could provide “no guidance” on whether an election security bill authored by Republican Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma might be able to gain traction in the Senate. But Blunt said McConnell will not even bring a GOP-led election bill to the floor for fear Democrats might try to amend it.
“The House action on election legislation has actually made it even less likely that that bill could possibly be on the Senate floor,” Blunt said in an interview. “Their (H.R. 1) bill was a combination of everything that Democrats have wanted to do over the past 20 years all put into one big bill … That bill’s just not going to go to the floor. Neither is any other bill that opens the door to these issues. Leader gets to decide that and he has made it clear.”