Congressman John Sarbanes

Representing the 3rd District of Maryland

Why Mitch McConnell Is Rejecting Hill Calls on Election Security, as House Dems Plan New Push

June 14, 2019
In The News

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is refusing to buckle to the near constant drumbeat from Democrats -- and some Republicans -- about the need to pass election security legislation in the wake of the report from special counsel Robert Mueller that found Russia interfered in the 2016 election. The Kentucky Republican, who believes strongly that elections should be primarily controlled by state and local authorities and not managed by Washington, argues that the federal government has already responded to the problems raised from the 2016 campaign and more does not need to be done at this time…. Behind the scenes, congressional Democrats are finalizing their plans to mount a pressure campaign on McConnell in the weeks ahead to try to shame him for his opposition to these matters. House Democrats are planning to pass a package of bills this summer aimed at shoring up the nation's election systems, including requiring FBI disclosure of offers for foreign assistance, something the Trump campaign didn't do in 2016 after Trump's eldest son was offered Russian dirt on the Clinton campaign. And Senate Democrats plan to return again and again to the floor to seek unanimous consent to pass election security bills, like the one they offered Thursday, which was blocked by Republicans that would have required any campaign that is offered assistance from a foreign government to report that to the FBI…. There are several other bills being pushed through the House, which could be wrapped up in the larger package. Among the bills is one pushed by Rep. John Sarbanes, a Maryland Democrat. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi touted legislation by the congressman at her weekly news conference on Thursday, describing it as "closing foreign money loopholes…. " McConnell has railed against H.R. 1 since it was introduced, arguing it was designed to keep Democrats in office. While Democrats haven't able to persuade McConnell to take up legislation, they did get him to agree to hold a briefing for all-senators on the state of election security. McConnell announced this week that briefing will take place soon but didn't say when.