Quigley Calls on Republicans to Reverse Election Security Cuts & Pass His Amendment to Restore EAC Funding
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05), who serves on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) and as Ranking Member of the Financial Services & General Government (FSGG) Appropriations Subcommittee, joined Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, HPSCI Ranking Member Adam Schiff, and other current and former Members of HPSCI for press conference on the Helsinki summit in which President Trump refused to hold President Putin accountable for hacking the 2016 elections. Rep. Quigley called on Republicans to pass his amendment to restore $380 million in election security funding, which he secured in the FY18 omnibus spending bill. You can read his full remarks below.
“Good afternoon. The Russians attacked our democratic process, and they will be back. The real truth is: they never left. We have to ask ourselves if we are prepared, and the short answer is we are not.
“Forty states have election equipment that’s over a decade old, ill-fit to handle modern, anti-hacking software. Thirteen states use equipment that doesn’t even have a paper trail to it, so when you electronically scan your vote, there’s no way to audit after the fact, just exactly what, if anything, was done to that equipment. We are extraordinarily vulnerable.
“ [Former DHS] Secretary Johnson, in testifying before our Committee, mentioned the fact that most entities don’t know that they’ve been hacked. Most entities have to be told by someone else that they’ve been hacked, and usually it’s a year and a half to two years before they know that it’s taken place. We are that vulnerable.
“Nine thousand entities operate federal elections, folks, and they range from municipalities the size of Mayberry, all the way to large county and state boards of elections. Dozens of them were hacked prior to the last election, including my own state of Illinois in August of 2016.
“In an attempt to address this, the last time we had an election catastrophe, this government spent $3.5 billion dollars after Bush-Gore [election]. Why? Because we treasure the democratic process. No matter who wins, we want to know that it was a fair game. We’re not in that position anymore.
“In 2018, we spent $380 million dollars [on Election Assistance Commission (EAC) grants] out of the Appropriations Committee, my subcommittee, on Financial Services. The decimal point was in the wrong spot. But every state applied for that money. Most states maxed out because it simply isn’t enough money to handle the technology they need, the training they need, and the equipment they need.
“So, this year we attempted to put another $380 million dollars into that same pot. It was zeroed out by my Republican colleagues on a partisan vote. This week, Republicans will get an opportunity to show which side they are on.
“After the extaordinary performance by the President in Helsinki, I’m asked – the most common question is: ‘What do you want the Republicans to do?’ In addition to supporting and defending the Mueller investigation, they can do something this week. They can vote for a very simple amendment that restores that $380 million dollars [to the EAC]. Because they’re all distancing themselves from the President, but a tweet is one thing; actions are another.
“This week, [on the Floor], we will have a vote on whether or not Republicans want to support the critical funding we need to defend our election infrastructure. Let’s find out which side they’re on.”
As Ranking Member of the FSGG Appropriations Subcommittee, Rep. Quigley introduced an amendment to reverse Republicans’ election security cuts, which zeroed out $380 million in EAC funding that Rep. Quigley secured for FY18. Unfortunately, Republicans on the Rules Committee voted last night to block that amendment. This week, Rep. Quigley will offer the Democratic Motion to Recommit to force a vote on the amendment.