On Oct. 23, 2019, the House of Representatives passed a bill intended to combat foreign interference in elections. The bill, which passed on a 227-181 party line vote, would require campaigns to report illicit offers of campaign assistance from foreign governments and improve the transparency of online political ads.
The Strengthening Harmful Interference in Elections for a Lasting Democracy (SHIELD) Act was sponsored by House Administration Committee Chair Zoe Lofgren (D-CA).
“The 2020 elections are fast approaching,” Lofgren said on the House floor. “Public confidence and trust in our elections is of the utmost importance. Free and fair elections are at the core of what it means to live in a democracy like ours.”
House Republicans have characterized the bill as an attack on the First Amendment, and the White House threatened to veto the bill if it reached the president’s desk. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said he has no plans to put it to a vote in the Senate.
“The proposal would give the FEC unprecedented license to track and regulate Americans’ political speech on the internet – and decide what speech qualifies as political in the first place,” McConnell said.