Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday blocked votes on two bills designed to combat election interference, accusing Democrats of pushing them for political purposes.
McConnell rejected Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s request for consent to pass legislation approved by the House that funds the Election Assistance Commission and sets up a requirement to use paper ballots, calling it “partisan legislation.”
“Clearly this request is not a serious effort to make a law. Clearly something so partisan that it only received one single solitary Republican vote in the House is not going to travel through the Senate by unanimous consent,” McConnell argued.
The majority leader also shot down Democratic senator Richard Blumenthal’s request for consent to pass a second election-security bill that would require political candidates, their families, and their campaign associates to report to the FBI offers of assistance from foreign governments.
McConnell has argued that elections should be controlled by states, not federal authorities, and says Congress has already addressed the election-security concerns that arose from the 2016 election.
The requests for the bills come a day after former special counsel Robert Mueller’s congressional testimony about Russian election interference, during which he warned that future election meddling from foreign governments is imminent.
“They are doing it as we sit here,” Mueller said. “Over the course of my career, I’ve seen a number of challenges to our democracy. The Russian government’s effort to interfere in our election is among the most serious.”
“Mueller’s testimony was a clarion call for election security. Mueller’s testimony should be a wake-up call to every American, Democrat, Republican, liberal, conservative, that the integrity of our elections is at stake,” Schumer said.