Weekly Democratic Address
July 14, 2017
Hello, I’m Congressman Bennie Thompson. I represent Mississippi’s 2nd Congressional District, and I am the top Democrat on the Committee on Homeland Security.
Nearly everyone outside the White House accepts the Intelligence Community’s conclusion that Russia carried out the hacking campaign in an attempt to influence the outcome of the 2016 Presidential Election.
And this week, in Donald Trump Jr.’s emails, we saw the first public evidence that the Trump Campaign eagerly intended to collude with Russia.
This shocking new evidence raises even graver questions about Russia’s success infiltrating the election systems in 21 states and stealing voting records containing personal information.
All of this has damaged Americans’ faith in our democracy and confidence in the security of our voting systems.
In fact, just this week, one poll found one in four respondents reported that they may not vote in the next election because of cybersecurity concerns.
This is not acceptable. Congress must act and act immediately. We must get the truth about Russia’s meddling and the full extent of the Trump Campaign complicity. But we must also take action to protect our elections and our election infrastructure next time.
That is why House Democrats launched the Congressional Task Force on Election Security, which I am proud to co-chair with Congressman Brady from Pennsylvania.
This task force’s central mission is to focus on how to bolster the cyber and physical security of our election system ahead of the 2018 election.
It will be a forum for Members of Congress to hear from experts in cybersecurity and election infrastructure and identify actions that should be taken to help ensure the integrity of our election systems and guard against future attacks.
While elections are the exclusive responsibilities of the states, the Federal government has a responsibility to step up and help, where needed, to support states as they work to prevent the Russians or other bad actors from disrupting and interfering with our elections.
Protecting the integrity of our election system should not be a partisan concern. We hope House Republicans will join us.
Unfortunately, we have a President who shows no interest in preventing last year’s election interference from happening again. The Department of Homeland Security is also wavering over whether our election infrastructure should be designated part of our country’s critical infrastructure.
Here in Congress, Republican leaders have displayed no appetite to tackle this critical homeland security issue – or even hold hearings.
If we continue to do nothing, we make it easy for Russia and other nefarious actors to meddle in future elections.
We must put politics aside for the good of the country and work together on this and so many other important issues to the American people.
I thank you for your attention and urge you to stay engaged. Our democracy demands your involvement.