The Latest: Senate rejects new money for election security
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on election security (all times local):
The Republican-controlled Senate has defeated a push by Democrats to set aside an additional $250 million for states to upgrade their voting systems to protect against hacking and other cyberattacks.
An amendment offered by Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy received 50 yes votes, 10 short of the 60 needed for approval.
Leahy said securing U.S. elections and “safeguarding our democracy” is not a partisan issue.
He said the Senate “must send a clear message to Russia and other foreign adversaries that tampering in our elections will not be tolerated. The president will not act. This duty has fallen to us.”
A similar effort was also rejected in the House. Republicans said new money was not needed so soon after Congress approved $380 million in March for the state grant program.
As alarms blare about Russian interference in U.S. elections, the Trump administration is facing criticism that it has no clear national strategy to protect the country during the upcoming midterms and beyond.
Both Republicans and Democrats have criticized the administration’s response as fragmented, without enough coordination across federal agencies. And with the midterms just three months away, critics are calling on President Donald Trump to take a stronger stand on an issue critical to American democracy.
Trump himself rarely talks about the issue. And in the nearly two years since Russians were found to have hacked into U.S. election systems and manipulated social media to influence public opinion, the White House has held two meetings on election security.
One was last week, and it ran 30 minutes.