Senators on Wednesday rejected an a Democratic proposal to provide states with more election security funding ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.
The proposal, spearheaded by Leahy, would have provided $250 million for state election security grants.
Republicans argue more funding isn’t needed and that states haven’t yet spent the $380 million previously approved by Congress.
“We don’t know how the first $480 million has even been spent, and the intelligence committee did an extensive research on how much money was needed and the $380 million amount was what was needed for the moment,” he said.
Leahy fired back that the “lights are blinking red” and Congress should approve more money before the election.
“The president is not going to act. The duty has fallen to us. Let’s not after an election find out that this country was defenseless against attacks from Russia and say oh, gosh, we should have done something,” Leahy said.
The Senate fight over election security comes as lawmakers are signaling that they are increasingly concerned that Russia will try to interfere in the 2018 election.
“And for myself what I’ve said is we better not see the Russians’ hand in the 2018 election because there are going to be serious consequences if there are,” he said.
The Daily Beast reported on Thursday that Russian intelligence agents targeted Sen. (D-Mo.) with an attempted breach ahead of the November elections.