The bill passed on a 229-203 vote, with nine Republicans breaking ranks and joining Democrats in supporting the measure. None of those nine Republican lawmakers will be members of Congress next year — either because they lost their primaries or chose to retire.
The Presidential Election Reform Actrepresentatives. Written by Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), the bill expressly cites the capitol attack as a reason to amend the Election Counting Act of 1887, “to prevent future illegal attempts to change the president. Elections and future peaceful conduct.” The President must ensure that power is transferred.
“Legal challenges are not improper, but Donald Trump’s refusal to obey the courts’ rulings certainly is,” Cheney said Wednesday during House debate on the measure. “In our system of government, elections in the states decide who is the president. Our bill does not change that. But the bill would prevent Congress from illegally electing the president.
Later, Cheney added, “This bill is a very important and important bill Make sure that What happened on January 6 will never happen again.
President Donald Trump falsely told supporters that Vice President Mike Pence had the authority to reject electoral votes already certified by states. Pence did not — and repeatedly insisted The Constitutional Vice President has no such power. But on Jan. 6, many of the pro-Trump mobs that took over the Capitol chanted, “Hang Mike Pence!” They started chanting. In the mistaken belief that the vice president could have prevented Congress from certifying Biden’s victory.
The Presidential Election Reform Act clearly reaffirms that the Vice President has no role in validating the presidential election beyond acting as a figurehead overseeing the counting process to prevent that person from altering the results. It would expand the necessary threshold for members of both chambers to challenge a state’s decisions, as well as clarify the role governors play in the process. Finally, it would clarify that state legislatures cannot retroactively change election rules to change results.
“In Hollywood, there’s always a sequel to a bad movie. Unless we change the 1887 election count law, we’re headed for a new sequel in 2024,” Rep. John Karamendi (D-Calif.) said on the House floor.
“We need to change the law. It is primitive,” he added. “This has already been proven by January 6 and the coup attempt that took place then [when people tried] Use that law to install a president who has not been legally elected by the American people.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called the move “a historic and bipartisan legislative move to protect the integrity of future presidential elections” and then fielded a series of questions.
“How can you vote against free and fair elections, the cornerstone of our constitution? How could anyone vote against the vision of our founders, putting the power in the hands of the people? How can anyone vote against their own constituents who allow radical politicians to rip their ideas apart?
House Republicans — 139 of whom refused to certify Biden’s victory — opposed the measure, with GOP leadership pushing the rank and file to vote against it.
Representative. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) said the bill “reduces the basis on which Congress can intervene…it still allows Congress to invalidate electoral votes, so it doesn’t solve the problem.” The move manipulates the election count in a “clumsy and partisan” way.
Representative. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) complained that the bill “crushes state sovereignty while the Constitution empowers states to make and interpret their own state laws.”
Cheney and Lofgren are members of a bipartisan House select committee investigating the Capitol rebellion and have offered sober assessments of similar future attacks on American democracy and the risks of a peaceful transfer of power. The committee’s next hearing on Jan. 6 will be held on Sept. 28.
A Collaborative Edition for The Wall Street Journal On Sunday, Cheney and Lofgren said the extent of Trump’s plans to subvert the 2020 presidential election is yet to be heard from the panel, but “they also have an obligation to recommend legislation to ensure that such an attack never happens again.” Trump continues to spread baseless claims of widespread election fraud, and pro-Trump candidates in state and local elections across the country have bought into those lies.
“This raises the possibility of another attempt to steal the presidential election, possibly spoiling another attempt to count congressional electoral votes,” Cheney and Lofgren wrote. They added: “Our proposal is aimed at safeguarding the rule of law in future presidential elections, ensuring that self-interested politicians cannot steal power from the people through the consent of the governed.”
The bill passed out of the House Rules Committee on Tuesday in a 9-3 vote. The Biden administration supports the bill, calling it another step in “important reform of the 135-year-old vote count law.”
“Americans deserve greater clarity in the process of choosing their votes for a president and vice president,” the Office of Management and Budget said in a statement Wednesday. “So [the Presidential Election Reform Act] Moving forward through the legislative process, the Administration looks forward to working with Congress to ensure consistent reform with Congress’s constitutional authority to protect voting rights, count electoral votes, and strengthen our democracy.
Sens. Joe Manchin III (DW.Va.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) have introduced legislation in the Senate, the Electoral Counting Reform and Presidential Transition Improvement Act, which differs from the House in thresholds for members of both chambers. Meaning. Bipartisan support for the Senate bill is growing, with 10 Democrats and 10 Republicans as co-sponsors as of Wednesday afternoon.
“We are pleased that bipartisan support continues to grow for these sensible and much-needed reforms to the Election Counting Act of 1887,” Collins and Manchin said in a joint statement. “Our bill is supported by election lawyers and organizations across the ideological spectrum. We will continue to work to increase bipartisan support for our legislation that fixes the flaws in this antiquated and vague law.
Mariana Sotomayor and Lee Ann Caldwell contributed to this report.