Former special counsel Robert Mueller's warning that Russian interference is still happening "as we sit" is putting pressure on Republican leaders in Congress to join Democrats in passing additional election security legislation. Mitch McConnell halted a bipartisan effort to beef up state election systems ahead of the 2018 election and on Thursday blocked Democrats from pushing forward a House-passed bill to authorize funding for the states, the AP reports. The Senate majority leader said President Trump's administration has already made great strides to enhance election security, and he called the House bill "not a serious effort" coming from the same side that he said spent the past two years "hyping" Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. "Obviously, it's very important that we maintain the integrity and security of our elections," McConnell said Thursday.
The Senate already unanimously approved one bipartisan measure, which makes interference in elections a violation of immigration law. But Democrats—and some Republicans—say Congress must do more. Chuck Schumer called inaction a "disgrace" and is pledging to keep putting forward requests for votes on bills. Mueller's testimony "should be a wake-up call," the Senate minority leader said. "Leader McConnell, let me read you that sentence," Schumer said from the Senate floor, citing Mueller's testimony Wednesday about Russian interference. "'It wasn't a single attempt. They're doing it as we sit here, and they expect to do it in the next campaign.'" CNN notes that McConnell's block Thursday came a day after Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith blocked a package of bills Wednesday related to election security. (Read more Robert Mueller stories.)