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Rubio, Van Hollen Urge Committees to Quickly Hold Hearing on DETER Act
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) urged the leaders of the Senate Banking and Foreign Relations Committees to hold a hearing on their Defending Elections from Threats by Establishing Redlines (DETER) Act before the Senate enters a week-long state work period in August. The DETER Act, which uses the threat of powerful sanctions to dissuade hostile foreign powers from meddling in our elections, continued to build momentum this week.
Yesterday, Rubio and Van Hollen announced eight new Senate cosponsors of the DETER Act. Earlier this week, Rubio spoke on the Senate floor calling on Congress to pass the DETER Act.
Last week, Rubio and Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) outlined how they are teaming up with legislators from Canada and Europe to sound the alarm of Russian meddling in foreign elections. This month, Rubio encouraged Florida’s Secretary of State and 67 Supervisors of Elections to take advantage of the resources offered by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to protect its election infrastructure from hostile foreign governments’ interference. In 2016, Russian government actors actively targeted Florida’s – and the nation’s – election systems.
The full text of the letter is below:
Dear Chairmen Crapo and Corker and Ranking Members Brown and Menendez:
Thank you for your continued leadership on issues of U.S. national security and international affairs. As you know, Republican Leader Mitch McConnell today announced that he “tasked the chairmen of the Banking and Foreign Relations Committees with holding hearings on the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, and to recommend to the Senate additional measures that could respond to or deter Russian malign behavior.” We write to urge your respective committee to hold a hearing on these matters during this Senate work period. In addition, we strongly urge the Senate Banking Committee to consider the bipartisan Defending Elections from Threats by Establishing RedlinesAct of 2018 (DETER Act) in a business meeting during this Senate work period.
Russia’s ongoing elections interference against our great nation poses direct threats to our democracy, our democratic institutions, and our society, including the real risk that future Russian malign activities may undermine the legitimacy and integrity of future American elections. The U.S. intelligence community has repeatedly made clear that the Russian Federation, under Vladimir Putin, interfered in our 2016 presidential elections. Moreover, Director of National Intelligence Daniel R. Coats warned in the 2018 Worldwide Threat of the U.S. Intelligence Community that “[t]he 2018 U.S. mid-term elections are a potential target for Russian influence operations.”
The DETER Act provides a comprehensive strategy to deter future interference in U.S. elections, by Russia or another foreign adversary. It uses the threat of powerful sanctions to dissuade future Russian attacks on our elections. The DETER Act has strong support with bipartisan cosponsors on both the Banking and Foreign Relations committees.
Given the urgency of the challenge before our nation, we urge your respective committee to work to hold its hearing and for the Senate Banking Committee to mark up the DETER Act during this work period. The Senate has the opportunity to highlight to the American public the real threats that foreign interference in our future elections pose, and to act to deter future foreign interference and defend our country. We are just 110 days away from our elections in November. The time to come together and act is now.