WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Congressional Democratic leaders suggested on Wednesday that Congress allocate $300 million dollars for the Federal Bureau of Investigation to fight Russian efforts to interfere in the November 2018 U.S. election.
Citing recent warnings from U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia was already trying to influence the upcoming vote, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and House of Representatives Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi asked that the additional funds be included in an upcoming spending bill.
“The most essential elements of America’s democracy are under attack by a foreign adversary and Congress must respond immediately,” Schumer, Pelosi and the top Democrats on the Senate and House Appropriations Committees wrote in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan.
U.S. intelligence agencies last year said Russia tried to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election in favor of Republican Donald Trump by hacking the emails of leading Democrats and distributing disinformation and propaganda online.
On Tuesday, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced he would create a task force to examine how the Justice Department can better combat global cyber threats, including efforts to interfere with elections or damage critical infrastructure.
Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Alistair Bell