House to vote this month on legislation to combat foreign interference in elections
Maggie Miller, The Hill
The House will vote on legislation later this month aimed at limiting foreign interference in U.S. elections after a bipartisan report from the Senate Intelligence Committee this week called on Congress to take action on the issue.
The move by House Democrats is likely to place additional pressure on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), whom Democrats have targeted on election security.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) announced the House will take up legislation that would require campaigns to report “illicit offers” of election assistance from foreign governments or individuals to both the FBI and the Federal Election Commission (FEC).
The legislation, known as the SHIELD Act and just introduced this week, also includes language designed to ensure that political advertisements on social media are subject to the same sponsor disclosure rules as ads on television and radio broadcasts.
The vote will come in the midst of a presidential impeachment inquiry that focuses on whether President Trump asked Ukraine to interfere in aspects of the upcoming 2020 U.S. presidential election.
Hoyer praised work done by House Democrats in regards to the impeachment investigation in a letter announcing the move, writing that “the President betrayed our nation’s trust, undermined our national security, and abused his power by encouraging foreign interference in our elections, and the American people deserve answers."
The House has already passed two major election security bills earlier this year. McConnell has blocked most election security measures from being brought up, citing concerns around federalizing elections.
The Senate Intelligence Committee report this week urged Congress to take action to ensure social media sites can't be used to interfere in the next election. The report concluded that Russian actors took advantage of weakness in the platforms to influence the 2016 presidential election.
The Intelligence Committee report specifically highlighted the imposition of new regulations on transparency of ads as one of its recommendations for action.
The House Administration Committee is scheduled to mark up the SHIELD Act next week prior to the full House taking it up, with committee Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) among the bill’s key sponsors.
Other sponsors include House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.), the chairman of the Democracy Reform Task Force.