Senate drops provision of intelligence bill requiring campaigns to report foreign electoral aid


Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Tuesday that Senate Republicans forced the removal of the election reporting provision as a condition of including the intelligence bill in policy legislation. of defense to be approved.

Earlier this month, the Senate Intelligence Committee approved an amendment to an 8-7 vote by Warner and Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine, which added a provision to the Intelligence Authorization Act that requires campaigns to notify Federal authorities on offers of foreign electoral aid.

However, that bill was unlikely to win Senate time on its own, so it is included in the National Defense Authorization Act. The effort to remove the foreign election aid provision from the intelligence bill was not a surprise, as Acting Senate Intelligence Chairman Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida, predicted earlier this month that it would be removed. before the bill was on the ground, due to an objection from the Senate Rules Committee.

Warner lamented what he called a “backroom deal” to remove the provision.

“If my Republican colleagues want to remove this NDAA legislation behind closed doors, then I will offer it as an amendment to force a vote up or down and leave all members of this body on the record,” Warner said on the floor. of the Senate.

The amendment approved by the Intelligence Committee was an adopted version of the Warner Fire Law, which he introduced last year. It would require all presidential campaign officials to report to the FBI any contact with foreign nationals attempting to donate or coordinate with a campaign.

Warner tried to present his bill in the Senate several times in the past year, but Republicans opposed it each time. When Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tennessee, blocked the bill in June 2019, calling it a “cheeky political trick.” President Donald Trump applauded his efforts on Twitter.

It is unclear whether Warner’s amendment will have one vote. The Senate is debating defense authorization legislation on the floor this week.

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