Schumer to McConnell: Stop blocking election security bills

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSharpton: Trump has ‘particular venom’ for blacks, people of color McConnell under fire for burying election bills in ‘legislative graveyard’ Washington Post columnist accuses McConnell of doing ‘Putin’s bidding’ MORE (D-N.Y.) urged Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill’s Morning Report – Trump’s new target: Elijah Cummings Juan Williams: Trump, his allies and the betrayal of America Largest Senate GOP group to run first ads for 2020 MORE (R-Ky.) to bring up election security legislation after the GOP leader lashed out at critics who targeted him for blocking two bills last week. 

“There’s an easy way for Leader McConnell to silence the critics who accuse him of blocking election security: stop blocking it. Leader McConnell doesn’t have to put the bills that we have proposed … or the bill the House has passed, there are bipartisan bills—and we can debate the issue,” Schumer said Monday from the Senate floor.

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Schumer’s comments came after McConnell hit back at high-profile critics, accusing them of “lying” and “modern-day McCarthyism” after they targeted the GOP leader late last week when he blocked two election security bills that are largely supported by Democrats. 

Schumer asked for consent to pass a House bill, supported by one Republican, that would require paper ballots, while Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) wanted to pass legislation that would require candidates, campaign officials and their family members to notify the FBI of assistance offers. McConnell blocked both of the bills. 

“These pundits are lying, lying when they dismiss the work that has been done. They’re lying when they insist I have personally blocked actions which, in fact, I have championed and the Senate has passed. They are lying when they suggest that either party is against defending our democracy,” McConnell said from the floor. 

McConnell added that Democrats knew their bills would get blocked from passing the Senate without a formal vote, calling the objections “routine.” 

Republicans argue that they’ve done plenty to help secure elections including passing two related bills and including $380 billion in funding in last year’s spending bills. They also credit with the administration with working to bolster the 2018 elections. 

But Democrats contend that falls short in the wake of warnings from multiple current and former officials that Russia and other foreign governments will try to meddle in the 2020 election. 

“If Leader McConnell doesn’t like being criticized on election security, I challenge him: let’s debate it on the floor with amendments. I challenge him: support additional appropriations for states to harden their election systems. In both cases, Leader McConnell has not done that,” Schumer said.

He added that if McConnell “takes such umbrage at his election security critics, I challenge him: prove them wrong.”  

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