Election Counting Reform and Presidential Transition Improvements Act, sponsored by Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Joe Manchin III (DW.Va.) will amend the Election Counting Act of 1887 and reiterate that the vice president holds only ministerial positions in joint sessions of Congress to count elections votes, as well as raising the bar for members of Congress to oppose state electors.
Speaking to the Senate Tuesday afternoon, McConnell said a “modest” update to the Election Counting Act was necessary.
“Congress’s procedure for counting presidential electoral votes was written 135 years ago. The chaos that erupted on January 1. Last June definitely underscored the need for an update,” McConnell said. “The election counting method finally came to the right conclusion…but it’s clear that the country needs a more predictable path. “
Later, the Senate Rules Committee, of which Schumer and McConnell are members, voted to pass the bill. Schumer voted yes by proxy, while the senator. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) was the only one who didn’t vote. Minutes after McConnell expressed support for the legislation in committee, Cruz turned against his party leaders and slammed the bill as “bad policy and … bad for democracy.”
“I understand why Democrats support this bill,” Cruz said, “I don’t understand why Republicans support it.”
The bill has received strong bipartisan support, with 11 Democratic and 11 Republican senators signing the co-sponsor by Tuesday.
“We are pleased that bipartisan support for these sensible and much-needed reforms to the 1887 Election Counting Act continues to grow,” Collins and Manchin said in a joint statement last week. “Our bill was elected across ideological spheres. Legal experts and organizations. We will continue to work to increase bipartisan support for our legislation to correct the deficiencies of this antiquated and ambiguous law.”
After the 2020 election, President Donald Trump falsely told his supporters that Vice President Mike Pence has the right to deny electoral votes that have been certified by states. Pence didn’t do that — and repeatedly stressed that the Constitution doesn’t give the vice president such powers. But on Jan. 6, many in the pro-Trump mob who occupied the Capitol began chanting: “Hang Mike Pence!” wrongly believing that the vice president could have prevented Congress from proving Biden’s victory.
The House passed a similar presidential election reform bill authored by the House of Representatives last week. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), 229 votes to 203. Cheney and Lofgren argue that the risk of another attempt to steal the presidential election remains high, as Trump continues to spread unfounded claims about widespread electoral fraud and support Trump in state and local elections across the country. Trump’s candidates have embraced these lies.
The main difference between the Senate and House bills is how much they would change the threshold for members of both chambers to oppose a state outcome. Currently, only one member of the House and Senate is required to oppose a state’s electors. The House election reform bill would raise the threshold to at least one-third of both chambers, while the Senate version would raise the threshold to at least one-fifth of both chambers.
Schumer rejected his endorsement because he preferred Democrats’ sweeping ballot bill, which also involves polling. But after the bill failed in the Senate earlier this year due to a lack of Republican support, a bipartisan task force moved forward with a narrower bill that would implement guardrails and clarify how presidential electors are appointed, submitted and approved.
senator. Angus King (I-Maine), a rules panel member who has crafted his own election bill, said on Monday it was “critical” to get the legislation passed as quickly as possible.
“This isn’t sweeping voting rights reform, but it’s important because we went through danger on Jan. 6,” King told The Washington Post. “In the throes of next year’s presidential election, we have to do this by next year.”
Unlike the Senate bill, the House bill has little support from Republican lawmakers. Only nine Republicans broke ranks and joined Democrats in support of the measure, and none of those nine will be members of Congress next year — either because they lost their primary or opted to retire . Several House Republicans who opposed the bill, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), criticized the bill as unconstitutional.
On Tuesday, McConnell called the House bill “unworkable” because it lacked support from Republican lawmakers.
“It’s clear that only a bipartisan compromise that stems from the Senate can truly become law,” he said. “One party acting alone would be a loser. The House bill is not going to work, in my opinion. We have a chance to do that.”
The Biden administration issued a statement last week in support of the House bill, calling it another step in “a much-needed overhaul of the 135-year-old election counting method.”
“Americans should have a better understanding of the process by which their votes will lead to the election of the president and vice president,” the Office of Management and Budget said. [the Presidential Election Reform Act] Through the legislative process, the Administration looks forward to working with Congress to ensure lasting reforms consistent with Congress’ constitutional mandate to protect voting rights, count electoral votes, and strengthen our democracy. “
Leigh Ann Caldwell contributed to this report.