Jul 19, 2018

Democrats’ push for more election security funding keeps failing

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

House Democrats forced a vote on election security funding this week — and lost again today.

The big picture: This shows that the recent outburst in criticism against President Trump's back-and-forth on whether he believes the intelligence community's assessment that Russia meddled in U.S. elections may not be enough to translate into votes. According to an exclusive Axios/SurveyMonkey poll, Republicans overwhelmingly (79%) approve of the way Trump handled his press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The trend: This is not the first time the $380 million proposal has been shot down this year, as it has been blocked by both the Rules Committee and House Appropriations.

Why it matters: The funding previously allocated by Congress is not enough to overhaul the electronic voting machines, leaving some states without the ability to ensure election results are accurate.

  • Democratic Rep. Mike Quigley of Illinois is one of several Democrats, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Adam Schiff, who have been pushing for the funding. Of more than 20 states targeted by the Russians in 2016, Illinois was one state where voter information was actually stolen. Rep. Quigley tweeted today, "Republicans had a chance to do the right thing...They rejected that chance."
  • “It seems that Putin is Trump’s puppeteer, and that House Republicans have decided to join the charade," Nancy Pelosi said in a statement after the vote.

The other side: Republican Rep. Tom Graves has been resisting additional funds because the omnibus funds for election security shot slightly past how much the Help America Vote Act outlines, $3.65 billion. An aide of his tells Axios "the authorized amount is fully funded. If Congress determines that additional funds are needed and authorizes the use of those funds, Rep. Graves is happy to look for ways to help."

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China reopens Wuhan after 10-week coronavirus lockdown

People wearing facemasks stand near Yangtze River in Wuhan. Photo: HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images

China has lifted its lockdown of Wuhan, the city in Hubei province where the coronavirus outbreak was first reported in December, according to the New York Times.

Why it matters: As cases surged in January, China took the draconian step of sealing off the city of 11 million and shutting down its economy — a response that was viewed at the time as only possible in an authoritarian system, but which has since been adopted by governments around the world.

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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Trump removes watchdog overseeing rollout of $2 trillion coronavirus bill

Glenn Fine, acting Pentagon watchdog

President Trump on Monday replaced the Pentagon's acting Inspector General Glenn Fine, who had been selected to chair the panel overseeing the rollout of the $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill passed last month, Politico first reported.

Why it matters: A group of independent federal watchdogs selected Fine to lead the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, but Fine's removal from his Pentagon job prevents him from being able to serve in that position — since the law only allows sitting inspectors general to fill the role.

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