Congressman John Sarbanes

Representing the 3rd District of Maryland

Pelosi, Lowey, Lofgren, Sarbanes Issue Joint Statement on Majority Leader McConnell’s Ongoing Failure to Protect America from Foreign Attacks and Secure American Elections

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 19, 2019
Contact: Daniel Jacobs
(202) 225-4016

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi; Chairwoman Nita Lowey, House Appropriations Committee; Chairperson Zoe Lofgren, House Administration Committee; and Democracy Reform Task Force Chair John Sarbanes released the following statement today after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) caved to Democratic pressure to support an appropriations amendment that would provide $250 million in election security grant funding to state and local governments, well below the $600 million in grant funding passed by the House and far less than the amount independent experts say we need:

“For years, Senator McConnell and Congressional Republicans have failed to take serious action to protect our country from foreign attack and defend us against foreign election interference.

“They have turned a blind eye to the alarming findings outlined by Special Counsel Mueller – that ‘the Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion’ and that ‘it wasn’t a single attempt – they’re doing it as we sit here.’ Senator McConnell and Congressional Republicans have ignored repeated warnings from our intelligence community, including the former Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, who said, ‘the warning lights are blinking red again – today, the digital infrastructure that serves this country is literally under attack.’ And they have stonewalled H.R. 1, the For the People Act, and H.R. 2722, the SAFE Act – two House-passed bills that would harden our election security and upgrade our election infrastructure.

“But today, after years of failing to take this critical national security threat seriously, Senator McConnell and Congressional Republicans have bowed to the significant pressure coming from the public and from Congressional Democrats by taking the smallest of steps to help guard against foreign election interference. However, even though it appears that our Republican colleagues are finally waking up to the threats we face as a nation, independent experts have said that much more must be done to harden our election security before November 2020.

“We look forward to working with Congressional Republicans toward a solution in the appropriations process that confronts the full challenge we face. In the interim, we once again urge Majority Leader McConnell to bring H.R. 1 and H.R. 2722 up for a vote on the Senate floor.

“As public officials, we swore an oath to protect and defend the Constitution. We must follow through on this sacred duty by providing states with the full resources needed to protect our election systems from foreign attack.”

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