Sen. Jon Tester on Tuesday said Republican leadership in the U.S. Senate continues to block a number of “good bills” aimed at securing the nation’s elections from foreign interference.
Tester said “the bills are sitting there” with bipartisan support, but Sen. Mitch McConnell won’t allow them to the floor for debate.
“If this had happened at any other time in our history, we’d be holding Russia accountable,” Tester said during a Tuesday press call. “We basically have done nothing to Russia over what’s proven they did in 2016, and that’s a huge mistake. Countries need to pay a price if they mess with our democracy.”
While other members of the Senate have branded McConnell as “Moscow Mitch” for failing to act on the legislation, Tester has taken a more diplomatic approach by standing behind the bills, which he called “a good idea.”
Tester said the nation needs election security to stop Russia and other foreign and domestic entities from influencing national elections and swaying the outcome of the democratic process.
“What Russia did in our last election is comparable to what Japan did during Pearl Harbor,” Tester said. “While there weren’t any explosions and there weren’t people who died, the truth is, they impacted our elections with technology in a way that’s never been done before.”
In a speech this week, McConnell said he agrees that Russia meddled in the last presidential election, but blasted his critics as “hyperventilating hacks.”