The Republican-controlled Senate has defeated a push by Democrats to set aside an additional $250 million for states to upgrade their voting systems to protect against hacking and other cyberattacks.
An amendment offered by Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy received 50 yes votes, 10 short of the 60 needed for approval. Leahy attempted to attach the amendment to an appropriations bill for the Departments of the Interior, Environment, and related agencies.
Leahy said securing U.S. elections and "safeguarding our democracy" is not a partisan issue.
He said the Senate "must send a clear message to Russia and other foreign adversaries that tampering in our elections will not be tolerated. The president will not act. This duty has fallen to us."
A similar effort was also rejected in the House. Republicans said new money was not needed so soon after Congress approved $380 million in March for the state grant program in its omnibus spending bill. Democrats argued that states were requesting more funds. "This morning, we're offering an amendment to our annual appropriations bill that would provide $250 million in election security grants to states – money states are telling us they need to protect their elections!" tweeted Sen. Chris Coons, D-Delaware.