They ballooned the deficit by a trillion-plus, gave billions in tax breaks to the mega-rich, but when it comes to securing the nation’s democratic elections, that’s just a bridge too far for Senate Republicans. Only one GOP senator voted for a measure that would have provided an extra $250 million in election security funding in the lead up to the 2018 midterms. The Washington Post writes:
The 50 to 47 vote fell far short of the needed 60 votes to include the $250 million amendment, proposed by Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), in an appropriations package that the Senate was set to approve Wednesday. Only one Republican senator — Sen. Bob Corker (Tenn.), who frequently prioritizes deficit concerns — voted for the additional funds.
Three other Republicans didn’t vote: Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, and Arizona Sens. Jeff Flake of Arizona (who’s in Africa) and John McCain (who’s battling cancer). Burr chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee that has concluded Russia attacked the 2016 elections and did so to the benefit of Donald Trump. Congress recently granted $380 million in funding to help secure the election but the Post reports a general “bipartisan consensus” that it isn’t enough to shore up U.S. elections given the current threat level.
The vote also occurred one day after Facebook disclosed discovering a disinformation campaign on its network targeting the elections, and one week after Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri became the first documented target of Russian hacking.
So much for GOP Leader Mitch McConnell’s empty threats that Russia “better not do it again.”