Blue Dogs Call for Bipartisan, Bicameral Effort to Secure US Elections

September 6, 2019 by Dan McCue
"I voted" stickers in San Diego in June 2018. (John Gibbins/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS)

WASHINGTON – The co-chairs of the Blue Dog Coalition of security-focused House Democrats and the caucus’s National Security Task Force on Wednesday called on the leadership of both parties and both chambers to bring bipartisan election security legislation up for a vote.

In a letter addressed to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, the coalition leaders contend that with less than five months to go before the Iowa caucus and the start of primary voting across the U.S., “there is no time for partisan games.”

“In a divided government, the only way we can accomplish this vital task is to put politics aside and pursue bipartisan solutions that can pass a Democratic-led House and a Republican-led Senate, and go to a Republican President’s desk for a signature,” the letter says. 

“Thankfully, members of both parties in both chambers of Congress have put forward viable, bipartisan solutions that, together, can address this threat to our national security in a holistic way,” it continues.

The lawmakers who signed the letter include Reps. Stephanie Murphy, of Florida, Blue Dog co-chair for administration; Tom O’Halleran, of Arizona, Blue Dog co-chair for policy; Lou Correa, of California, Blue Dog co-chair for communications; Anthony Brindisi, of New York, Blue Dog co-chair for whip;  Kurt Schrader, of Oregon, Blue Dog co-chair; and Kendra Horn, of Oklahoma, and Jeff Van Drew, of New Jersey, co-chairs of the Blue Dog Task Force on National Security.

The bipartisan legislation to which they refer includes:

  • H.R. 2592, Honest Ads Act;
  • H.R. 2135, Preventing Adversaries Internationally from Disbursing Advertising Dollars (PAID AD) Act;
  • S. 1692, Invest in Our Democracy Act of 2019;
  • S. 482, Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression (DASKA) Act of 2019;
  • S. 1060, Defending Elections from Threats by Establishing Redlines (DETER) Act of 2019;
  • S. 825, Protect Our Elections Act;
  • H.R. 1272, Restoring Integrity to America’s Elections Act;
  • H.R. 3529, Achieving Lasting Electoral Reforms on Transparency and Security (ALERTS) Act;
  • S. 1328, Defending Elections against Trolls from Enemy Regimes (DETER) Act; and
  • H.R. 1474, Strengthening Elections Through Intelligence Act.

In June, the Blue Dog Coalition released a package of legislative proposals in response to the conclusions presented in Volume I of the Mueller Report regarding Russia’s attack against the U.S. political system and attempts to interfere in the 2016 election.

The solutions are based primarily on a set of 11 bills endorsed by the Coalition and have earned bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate. The Blue Dog proposal was widely praised by leaders, policy experts and policy organizations.

In their letter, the lawmakers note that this past summer, the House has passed the SAFE Act; the Senate Intelligence Committee issued a bipartisan report outlining Russia’s efforts against U.S. election infrastructure and proposing solutions that have earned bipartisan support; and leaders in the intelligence community have continued to sound the alarm that Russia and other adversaries will meddle in the 2020 election.

“Every single Member of Congress has sworn to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, both foreign and domestic,” the letter says. “It is our sacred duty to uphold that oath to our country. As leaders of both chambers of Congress, we call on you to immediately launch a bipartisan, bicameral effort to bring these solutions and other viable ideas that have passed either chamber to the floor for a vote upon returning from the district work period.

“A lack of action by Congress to secure our elections would embolden our adversaries and pose a danger to the national security of the United States. Americans must have confidence in the security of our country’s electoral process in order to ensure full faith in every election’s result, no matter the outcome,” the letter concludes.

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