Quigley Offers Democratic Motion to Recommit on Election Security Funding, Republicans Reject Amendment to Safeguard Our Democratic Process
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05), who serves on the House Intelligence Committee and House Appropriations Committee, offered the Democratic Motion to Recommit (MTR) on his amendment to restore $380 million in election security grants for FY19. Click here to watch or read his remarks, as prepared for delivery, below.
As Ranking Member of the Financial Services & General Government (FSGG) Appropriations Subcommittee, Rep. Quigley introduced an amendment to reverse Republicans’ election security cuts, which zeroed out the $380 million in EAC funding that Rep. Quigley secured for FY18. Unfortunately, Republicans on the Rules Committee voted to block that amendment. Today’s MTR forced a vote on the amendment, which Republicans rejected on a party-line vote.
“This is the final amendment to the bill which will not kill the bill or send it back to committee. If adopted, the bill will immediately proceed to final passage as amended.
“The Russians attacked our Democratic process. They will be back, and we are not ready. The President is unwilling to meet this challenge. But we must be willing to meet this challenge.
“The last time our electoral process was put into question, post Bush-Gore, this government spent over $3.5 billion to upgrade our election systems—because we treasured the integrity of our democracy. I hope we still do.
“We took an important step earlier this year when we appropriated $380 million to the Election Assistance Commission to provide grants for training, equipment and software to help States fortify and protect election systems. This amendment appropriates an additional $380 million in grants to continue to improve our defenses.
“Our election infrastructure remains outdated, low-tech, and nowhere near where it needs to be to prevent future intrusions. Not only do we know that in the lead up to the 2016 elections, the Russians targeted the election systems of at least twenty-one States and as many as thirty-nine, but through the Special Counsel’s investigation we now have the names of twelve Russian intelligence officers that carried it out.
“When President Trump was given the opportunity to challenge Putin in Helsinki this week, he instead condemned his own intelligence agencies while praising the Russian President without reservation. It was embarrassing, it was un-American, and it was a clear sign from the President that he will continue to stand by as Putin orchestrates additional attacks on our democracy.
“This latest episode of American capitulation to the Russians was a step too far for many of my Republican colleagues who issued statements breaking from the President’s comments. But carefully crafted tweets won’t stop the Russians from attacking our elections. This moment demands action.
“The Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coates, recently confirmed that the Russians continue to target our elections. We can be sure that they intend to interfere in the 2018 midterms and the presidential election in 2020. Yet, many of the vulnerabilities that existed in 2016, continue to persist across the country.
“Forty-two states continue to use outdated voting machines susceptible to cyber-intrusions and system crashes. Thirteen states continue to use voting machines that fail to produce a paper ballot or record, leaving them unable to conduct meaningful post-election audits.
“The overwhelming demand for assistance is there. The EAC issued a public announcement just three days ago that every single state and eligible territory has requested grant funding, with almost 90 percent of existing funds already transferred out.
“However, the amount distributed is only a fraction of what the states need. In fact, election experts believe that the bare minimum required is $1.25 billion. While it’s true that we will not be able to address all of our election security weaknesses by this November, we must think long-term.
“Unfortunately, the FSGG bill inexplicably zeros out the $380 million in election security grants.
“We now have a chance to do the right thing, equipped with the new revelations from the Mueller investigation and the realization that President Trump will do absolutely nothing to defend our election systems from foreign interference.
“With Russia attempting to cast doubt, uncertainty, and suspicion over the integrity of our electoral process, now is the time to double down on our efforts to prevent election hacking.
“The American people are watching, and we must ensure that we, unlike our President, are on the right side of history during this pivotal moment in our democracy.”