McConnell's Blockade of House Legislation Is About to Face Its Toughest Test

Jun 18, 2019
In The News

In the struggle between Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the Democratic-controlled House, the immovable object may finally have met an irresistible force. McConnell has been the immovable object: He's frustrated House Democrats by systematically blocking Senate votes so far on the lengthening list of bills they have passed, from gun control to additional protections for patients with preexisting health problems. But McConnell's blockade faces a new challenge as the House turns to a series of bills meant to fight foreign interference in the 2020 election…. "It could be the thing that has the public home in on where the problem is, where the obstruction is," says Democratic Rep. John Sarbanes of Maryland, a leading author of the House election security agenda…. “Here's a case study that they are going to be very interested in, that shows ... the problem is not with Washington, the problem is not broadly with Congress, the problem is with Mitch McConnell, who will not bring any of these things to the Senate floor…. " Sarbanes, who chaired the House Democrats' Democracy Reform Task Force, says the party plans to pass by August "a suite" of bills to safeguard the 2020 election against foreign interference. Those bills will include some measures already included in the House's omnibus political overhaul legislation, HR 1, that would provide states with more money to harden voting systems against possible foreign intrusion and mandate that the Department of Homeland Security develop a strategy for resisting such attacks…. "I think it's going to be a very difficult place for him to be, opposing these things that are supposed to protect the fundamental principles of our democracy," Sarbanes says. "This is about ... protecting ourselves from foreign interference, having confidence that our elections are being carried out in a free and fair and uninfluenced way. It's baseline stuff; it's Founding Fathers kind of principles here. If you stand in the way of measures that are designed to safeguard these principles, I think you are standing in the way of American democracy or at least not respecting it."