By Cameron Gonzales
President Donald Trump said he probably wouldn’t alert the FBI if a foreign agent approached him with information about a 2020 opponent, in an interview with ABC last Wednesday. He claimed, “It’s not an interference. They have information. I think I’d take it,” prompting outcry along both sides of the aisle. In response, bi-partisan legislation was brought to the floor of the Senate to address foreign meddling in our elections. The Foreign Influence Reporting in Elections Act would require anyone with information about foreign election influence to report it to the FBI. Additionally, it would require Federal campaigns to implement reporting systems to detect and report foreign election influence. So why is the Senate is currently blocking its implementation?
Senator Marsha Blackburn blocked a unanimous consent request to pass the legislation. Unanimous consent requests are often used to pass common-sense, non-partisan legislation. Since passing legislation is a long process that includes debate, testimony, additions in the form of amendments, and numerous votes, legislation that isn’t partisan asks for one unanimous vote of the whole chamber in order to pass.
Her reasoning was that it would require Presidential candidates to disclose lots of their information. Since the legislation only requires that any Federal candidate disclose foreign intervention, that is all that would have to be disclosed. Perhaps we the people should consider what type of candidate would be bogged down by having to report numerous levels of interference by foreign agents. If those types of candidates exist, and do not want to disclose that information, the people ought to consider their intentions. Blackburn also justified her blockage by saying that the legislation should be done in a bi-partisan way. Due to the fact that the legislation would require agreement by all members of the Senate to pass, it would be bi-partisan. In fact, the bill was not passed simply because she didn’t agree with it.
In response to Senator Marsha Blackburn blocking the unanimous consent request, President Trump thanked the Senator in a tweet, saying,
The only issue is that the Presidents tweet makes the legislation seem like a partisan move by Democrats. In reality, the legislation didn’t pass because one out of 51 Republicans in the Senate blocked it.
This shouldn’t be seen as a partisan battle, and in fact it is not. Republican Senators Lindsey Graham, Mitt Romney, James Lankford, Thom Tillis, Johnny Isakson, Susan Collins and Tim Scott have all spoken out against the President’s statement that he would not inform the FBI of foreign interference. The Foreign Influence Reporting in Elections Act would strengthen our Democracy, not hurt it. The beginning of the Declaration of Independence starts with, “We the People”. Americans should control elections, not foreign actors wanting favors from future officials. As patriots, as citizens that love our beautiful country, we should all fight to ensure that our elections stay fair, free, and decided by “we the people”.