The White House would have voters believe the Democratic majority in the House is focused exclusively on Donald Trump’s impeachment, to the point that it can’t be bothered to work on legislative priorities. And yet, House Dems continue to tackle legislative priorities, including a new bill on election security that passed yesterday. The Associated Press reported:
The Stopping Harmful Interference in Elections for a Lasting Democracy, or SHIELD Act, would require that candidates and political committees notify the FBI and other authorities if a foreign power offers campaign help. It also tightens restrictions on campaign spending by foreign nationals and requires more transparency in political ads on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.
And it would explicitly prohibit campaigns from exchanging campaign-related information with foreign governments and their agents. The latter provision was aimed at reports that officials in Trump’s 2016 campaign shared polling data with a person associated with Russian intelligence.
The final roll call is online here. Note, the bill passed 227 to 181, with literally zero Republicans voting for it. The White House announced before the vote that Donald Trump would veto the bill if it were to reach his desk.
Given the circumstances, the Republican can probably keep his veto pen in a drawer: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) – who picked up the “Moscow Mitch” moniker after balking at other bills on election security – condemned the latest House bill yesterday, insisting it’s at odds with the First Amendment.
All of this, incidentally, follows related measures that have already passed the House, including the “Securing America’s Federal Elections Act” (SAFE Act), which would, among other things, require voting systems to use backup paper ballots, mandate tech safeguards, and provide resources to states to improve their election-security measures.
The Senate’s GOP majority, however, won’t budge. Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) yesterday tried to pass three election-related bills – including a Senate companion to the SHIELD Act – but the efforts were blocked by Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.).
All of which brought a couple of key points into focus.
First, as U.S. officials warn Congress about ongoing foreign threats to U.S. elections, it seems only one party is making an effort to address these concerns with proposed legislative safeguards.
And second, Donald Trump’s rhetoric about “Do-Nothing Democrats” – a phrase he tweets with almost obsessive frequency – looks kind of silly given how many bills the House Democratic majority keeps passing.
On the other side of Capitol Hill, meanwhile, the list of major legislative breakthroughs in the Republican-led Senate is effectively blank. By some measures, as regular readers know, the Senate GOP’s leadership has effectively given up on legislating altogether.