Nine Republicans, including outgoing Rep. Liz Cheney, joined Democrats on Wednesday in voting for a bill, the Electoral Count Act, that makes it harder for elections to be rejected.
Sponsored by Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a Democrat, and Rep. Cheney, an ostensible Republican, the bill specifically makes it significantly harder for both Congress and the vice president to reject the results of an election.
“Our bill reaffirms what the Constitution and existing law make plain: the Vice President has no authority or discretion to reject official state electoral slates,” Cheney explained in a floor speech delivered Wednesday afternoon.
“It also makes clear that if Members of Congress have any right to object to electoral slates, those grounds are limited to the explicit constitutional requirements for candidate and electoral eligibility in the 12th Amendment’s explicit requirements for elector balloting.”
According to Cheney, the bill also bars state governors from trying to reject the results of an election.
“Under our system of elections, governors must transmit lawful election results to Congress. If they fail to fulfill that duty, our bill provides that candidates for the presidency should be able to sue in federal court to ensure that Congress receives the state’s lawful certification,” the congresswoman explained.
The ostensible goal is to prevent another Jan. 6th riot.
“This bill is a very important and crucial bill to ensure that what happened on January 6th never happens again,” Cheney said.
She was joined in her vote by Reps. Adam Kinzinger, Peter Meijer, Tom Rice, Fred Upton, Jaime Herrera, John Katko, Anthony Gonzalez, and Chris Jacobs. Interestingly, all nine Republicans are reportedly not on the ballot in November.
Specifically, all nine Republicans either got voted out in their primary elections or decided not to run for reelection, meaning they’re all outgoing Republicans.
As for the hundreds of Republicans who will be returning to office next year, they voted overwhelmingly against the Electoral Count Act on orders from House GOP leadership.
“A spokesperson for House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., confirmed … that party leaders will press fellow Republicans to oppose the bill,” ABC News reported a day before Wednesday’s vote.
“In their continued fixation to inject the Federal government into elections, this legislation runs counter to reforms necessary to strengthen the integrity of our elections,” Scalise reportedly said in a statement.
In other words, the bill does nothing to enhance election integrity, which has been and remains the Republican Party’s primary focus.
— Bo Snerdley (@BoSnerdley) March 18, 2021
Republicans also say the bill is a sideshow attraction that does nothing to address the tangible issues that Americans are facing every single day.
“At a time we should be addressing inflation, the runaway spending that is fueling it, and the assault on domestic energy, not to mention the invasion along our southern border, House Democrats chose to put on yet another partisan sideshow,” Texas Rep. Randy Weber said in a statement to the Houston Chronicle.
“The Democrats’ ongoing fixation to inject the federal government into elections threatens the preservation of liberty, and it is just another excuse to obsess about President Trump and the January 6th Committee,” he added.
Speaking with Axios, Republican Study Committee chair Jim Banks concurred with Weber vis-a-vis this being all about former President Donald Trump.
“It’s clear that anything Liz Cheney touches is all about whacking Donald Trump and not about making meaningful changes,” he said.
He added that he’ll take the Senate’s own version of the Electoral Count Act “a lot more seriously” and that Cheney’s involvement in the drafting of the House’s version “greatly diminishes the seriousness” of it.
The Senate version was drafted by Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat, and Sen. Susan Collins, an ostensible Republican. It’s reportedly more moderate in its goals.
Vanity Fair magazine nevertheless notes that the “idea” undergirding both bills “is to clear up the uncertainties in the original law that Trump and his allies attempted to capitalize on in 2020, including by pressuring then-Vice President Mike Pence to not certify Biden’s electors on January 6, 2021.”
Supporters of the Electoral Count Act say that had it been in place in 2020, then-VP Pence wouldn’t have even had the option to not certify President Joe Biden’s electors, as his role in the certification process would have been purely ceremonial.
That being said, former President Trump believes this clarification of duties proves that, contrary to claims from others, Pence really did have the power to reject the results of the 2020 presidential election.
New: Trump complains the Senate reforming Electoral Count Act to say the VP role is only ceremonial shows Pence could “change the results of the election” — showing why what was obvious needs to be spelled out
— Hugo Lowell (@hugolowell) January 31, 2022
“What they are saying, is that Mike Pence did have the right to change the outcome, and they now want to take that right away. Unfortunately, he didn’t exercise that power, he could have overturned the Election!” the former president said in a statement back in January, when word of the Electoral Count Act first emerged.
But others pushed back on this claim, saying Trump was wrong.
“Legal scholars say that the law is poorly worded, and is vague on key points. But there’s broad legal agreement that the law never gave Pence the power to overturn the election,” PolitiFact argued.
Yet, if Trump was wrong and Pence’s role was already ceremonial, that raises the question of why the Electoral Count Act is even needed in the first place …
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