Weeks of being called Moscow Mitch have finally caused Senate Majority Leader McConnell to break and support more money for election security. Not surprisingly, he’s taking credit for the whole thing, too.
“I am proud to have helped develop this amendment and to co-sponsor it in committee,” he said Thursday morning on the Senate floor. The amendment provides an additional $250 million to the Trump administration for distribution to states to improve voting systems against foreign interference. That would bring total funding for election security for 2020 to $600 million. That same essential amendment was blocked by McConnell and Republicans last year, ahead of the 2018 elections. Since then, McConnell has steadfastly refused to bring House-passed election protection legislation to the floor and has blocked every effort by Senate Democrats to force it.
He has repeatedly said that the funding wasn’t necessary and that legislation the House has passed would be too restrictive of states’ ability to determine how they conduct elections. Apparently either McConnell was lying about the states having all the funding they need, or he changed his mind. Or he is trying to get people to stop calling him Moscow Mitch. Whatever the motivation, it’s a welcome first start, says Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
“After months of opposing efforts by Leader Schumer and Senate Democrats to pass meaningful legislation and increase federal funding to secure our elections, Senator McConnell and Senate Republicans have finally relented and taken a step in the right direction,” Schumer’s office said in a statement. But, the statement continued, “To be clear, Senate Democrats believe this new funding is not a substitute for passing the comprehensive bipartisan election security legislation that experts say is desperately needed.”
He’s not going to stop being Moscow Mitch, especially not now that he’s shown the opposition just how effective the nickname is. Pressure works. Let’s keep it up.