H.R. 356 – To create an independent Commission to investigate Russia’s interference into the 2016 election

H.R. 356 – To create an independent Commission to investigate Russia’s interference into the 2016 election

We have contacted Duncan Hunter about Congress putting the effort and resources needed into an investigation of the Russian interference in the 2016 election – specifically we encouraged him to support H.Con.Res.15 (search this blog for Russia and the post comes up). Now there is a bill that would create an independent commission to do just this.

Bill H. R. 356, known as the Protecting Our Democracy Act, has been introduced and referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. The purpose of this bill would be, “To establish the National Commission on Foreign Interference in the 2016 Election”.

The bill states, “The purpose of the Commission is to examine any attempts or activities by the Russian government, persons or entities associated with the Russian government, or persons or entities within Russia to use electronic means to influence, interfere with, or sow distrust in elections for public office held in the United States in 2016… In addition … the purpose of the Commission is to examine attempts or activities by governments other than the Russian government, persons associated with governments other than the Russian government, and other entities and individuals to use electronic means to influence, interfere with, or sow distrust in elections for public office held in the United States in 2016…” (https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/356/text).

Some basic facts on this Commission: it would be a 12 person fully bi-partisan commission (i.e. six members appointed by the majority party and six by the minority party) comprised of non-governmental U.S. citizens, it would have subpoena power and members would receive security clearance as deemed necessary, it would have a budget of $3 million, it would have 18 months to create a final report, interim reports could be given to the President & Congress, it would disband 60 days after the final report and finally public hearings as well as a public report would be held/provided (https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/356/text).

If passage of this bill sounds too good to be true, well you a right… the bill ran into an unfortunate snag last week (March 28th, 2017) when Republicans blocked the bill from having a full floor debate: “Voting 231-189, the House on Tuesday blocked a Democratic bid to force floor debate on a bill (HR 356) now in committee that would establish a “National Commission on Foreign Interference in the 2016 Election” as a bipartisan, independent panel for investigating what the FBI says were contacts between Russian intelligence officials and associates of Trump starting months before election day. Had Democrats prevailed on this vote during debate on H Res 229, they would have had an opportunity to bring the Trump-Russia measure to the floor. No Republican spoke on the issue. A yes vote opposed the bid for an independent Trump-Russia investigation. Voting yes: Calvert, Cook and Hunter. Voting no: Aguilar, Torres, Ruiz and Takano.” (http://www.pe.com/articles/ending-828674-members-house.html).

So, let us contact Duncan Hunter and ask him to explain why he opposed the floor debate on this bill, why he opposes this bill and share your thoughts on this bill, on the need for an independent commission to investigate the Russian interference into the 2016 election.

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