Pressure is already mounting on Congress to secure the 2020 presidential race from foreign cyberattacks or interference just weeks after the midterm elections. Lawmakers expressed frustration at failing to pass a bill during the current session, but are vowing to resume their work in January. “Yeah, it’s next Congress,” Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) told The Hill last week. Lankford and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) in 2017 introduced the bipartisan Secure Elections Act, seen as the best shot of passing legislation before the midterms. “[Klobuchar] and I are not going to drop it, we’re going to keep working it through, but it’s not going to be the next two weeks,” Lankford vowed. Lawmakers, though, will take up their work with less time to bridge differences and before the 2020 cycle moves to full swing. And there may be new questions for lawmakers to address.
Congress had high hopes of passing election security legislation after the intelligence community concluded in January 2017 that Russia had interfered in the presidential election. But those hopes were dashed when a GOP-led committee held up the Lankford-Klobuchar bill earlier this year, a decision some Democrats blamed on the White House.
The House version of the legislation will also suffer a blow come January, as two Republicans in the bipartisan group of four behind the bill — Reps. Tom Rooney (Fla.) and Trey Gowdy (S.C.) — retire.
There has been widespread frustration, with some Democrats lashing out at President Trump.
Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is investigating Russia’s election interference, said at an event at the Center for a New American Security on Friday that the White House was responsible for blocking the bill.