A battle between U.S. President Donald Trump and Democrats over federal funding to help secure November’s U.S. elections stymied legislation in Congress on Wednesday, at least for now, that is aimed at thwarting Russian meddling by strengthening states’ voting procedures. The Senate Rules Committee unexpectedly canceled a work session that was intended to advance the Secure Elections Act. That is a bipartisan bill requiring greater coordination between the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and a range of other federal and state election agencies as well as making it easier to audit voting results in the 50 states. The fight pits Democrats and some state officials against the Trump administration and Republicans who oppose additional money flowing from Washington to the states to shore up elections.
It comes on the same day that high-ranking administration officials held a closed briefing in the U.S. Capitol for all 100 senators to detail Russian interference in American elections.
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham left that briefing telling reporters, “Everything we’ve done on Russia has not worked.” Graham, like many other senators, has been clamoring for Congress to approve tough new Russia sanctions to ward off Moscow’s ongoing Russian cyber activities. He has not supported new federal funding for states, however.
“Russia will quit when they pay a heavy price and clearly we have not done enough yet for them to quit,” Graham said.