Independent Sen. Angus King Says He Won’t Support Dem Voting Rights Bill

Independent Sen. Angus King Says He Won't Support Dem Voting Rights Bill angus king speaks from a committee hearing Sen. Angus King, I-Maine (Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

By Fran Beyer | Sunday, 06 June 2021 12:49 PM

Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, said Sunday he won’t support the Democrats’ voting rights proposal.

In an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” King said “we got to focus on what the most crucial issue is, which is protecting democracy.”

“I think there are things that can be modified [in the For the People Act] and [Senate Leader] Chuck Schumer [D-N.Y.] knows that and [Sen.] Amy Klobuchar [D-Minn.]” he said. “I've said that all along. It's a 900,000 page bill. There are things that need to be negotiated. And I think [Sen.] Joe Manchin [D-W.Va.] realizes that.”

According to King, the “guts” of the bill is voting rights, but there are other pieces as well.

“It has, for example, public financing of elections,” he noted. “But the important part for me is protecting voting rights and I think that's becoming more urgent by the day based upon what's going on around in the states.”

He said what’s not being discussed is that “lots of states are considering changes that the legislature could overturn the results of an election in their state.”

“Voting rights is critical… We got to focus on what the most crucial issue is, which is protecting democracy,” he said.

King also lamented the lack of punishments meted out by the United States to cybersecurity breaches.

“There has been some responses both from [the National Security Agency] and from the Biden administration in terms of things like sanctions … but I think we need to step that up,” he said.

“One of the problems is over the past 15 or 20 years as we've had these series of cyberattacks from North Korea, Russia, China, we really haven't responded. We've been a cheap date and you can't defend yourself simply by bobbing, weaving and patching. The adversary has to realize there will be a cost for attacking the United States or our critical infrastructure and thus far they haven't felt that.”

He added there’s a Russian criminal organization and that Moscow has to “quit tolerating this within their border.”

“They can't just say, ‘we don't know anything about this’,” he said. “A sparrow doesn't fall in Russia that [Russian President Vladimir] Putin doesn't know about.”

He argued for a new relationship between business and government on cybersecurity.

“I think some kind of mandatory incident reporting is going to be necessary and it's got to be burdens and benefits, particularly for these important critical infrastructure pieces,” King argued.

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