After months of constantly blocking bipartisan efforts to address foreign election hacking, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) finally gave in on Thursday and announced his support for an election security funding measure of $250 million.
During a speech on the Senate floor, McConnell said he was “proud” that the Senate’s appropriations bill includes an bipartisan amendment that would grant states $250 million in funding to help them beef up security for their voting systems.
“I’m proud to have helped develop this amendment and to co-sponsor it in committee,” he continued.
The Republican leader also jabbed at his Democratic critics, saying that the amendment is “exactly the kind of positive outcome” that is possible “when we stop posturing for the press.”
McConnell’s turnabout came after House and Senate Democrats kept publicly blasting the senate leader for his stonewalling, even referring to the Kentucky Republican as “Moscow Mitch” (which McConnell had complained was “over the top” and “modern-day McCarthyism”).
In an official statement on Thursday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) applauded McConnell’s decision but warned that the measure alone isn’t sufficient to combat election meddling from foreign governments.
“While this funding is important, it’s not the only thing we must do to secure our elections from Russian, Chinese, Iranian or any other foreign country interfering,” Schumer said. “There are multiple, bipartisan pieces of legislation awaiting action on the floor that would counter foreign influence operations against our democracy, safeguard our elections, and deter foreign adversaries from even attempting to interfere.”
Watch McConnell below:
McConnell finally announces support for an elections security funding bill pic.twitter.com/qFHpnzBTOR
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) September 19, 2019