A pair of senators from each party is introducing legislation meant to deter foreign governments from interfering in future American elections.
The bill represents the latest push on Capitol Hill to address Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election and counter potential threats ahead of the 2018 midterms.
Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) on Tuesday introduced the “Defending Elections from Threats by Establishing Redlines (DETER) Act,” which lays out specific foreign actions against U.S. elections that would warrant penalties from the federal government.
Van Hollen said in a statement to The Hill that the bill would send “an unequivocal message to Russia and any other foreign actor who may follow its example: if you attack us, the consequences will be severe.”
Congress imposed additional sanctions on Moscow for its election interference last summer. However, fears have mounted over the potential for future foreign influence efforts, which some lawmakers have sought to address through legislation.
Under the bill introduced Tuesday, it would be up to the Trump administration to decide the retaliatory measures for potential election interference by China, Iran and North Korea, and any other nation that the administration singles out as a threat. The administration would be required to report to Congress within 90 days of the bill’s enactment on plans to counter potential election interference from each specific country.
Bill would direct Trump administration to spell out penalties for election interference efforts by specific foreign governments.