House passes bill to stop attempts to tamper with presidential election results

The House voted on Wednesday to pass an electoral reform bill that seeks to prevent presidents from trying to reverse election results through Congress, the first vote on such an effort since January 6, 2021. An attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob to prevent authentication of Joe Biden’s election victory.

The bill passed by a vote of 229–203, with only nine Republicans breaking ranks with Democrats joining and supporting the measure. None of those nine Republican lawmakers will be members of Congress next year — either because they lost their primaries or decided to retire.

The Presidential Electoral Reform Act, written by Reps Liz Cheney (R-Vy.) and Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), explicitly cites the Capitol attack as a reason to amend the Electoral Counting Act of 1887, “other future To prevent” unlawful attempts to overturn presidential elections and to ensure the peaceful transfer of presidential power in the future. ,

“The legal challenges are not unreasonable, but Donald Trump’s refusal to comply with the courts’ decisions certainly was,” Cheney said Wednesday during the House debate on the measure. “In our system of government, elections in the states determine who is the president. Our bill does not change that. But the bill would prevent Congress from illegally electing its own president.

Later, Cheney said, “This bill is a very important and important bill. make sure that What happened on January 6th will never happen again.”

President Donald Trump falsely told his supporters that Vice President Mike Pence has the power to reject electoral votes already certified by states. Pence did not – and has repeatedly emphasized that the Constitution gives no such authority to the Vice President. But on January 6, many in the pro-Trump crowd began to occupy the Capitol, chanting “Hang Mike Pence!” On the misguided notion that the vice president could prevent Congress from authenticating Biden’s victory.

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The Presidential Election Reform Act would expressly affirm that the Vice President has no role in validating the presidential election, beyond acting as the person overseeing the counting process, preventing that person from changing the result. It would expand the threshold required for members of both houses to object to a state’s results, as well as clarify the role governors play in the process. Finally, it will make it clear that state legislatures cannot retroactively change election rules to change the results.

“In Hollywood, there is always a sequel, often of a really bad movie. We are headed for a new sequel in 2024 unless we change the 1887 Electoral Count Act,” Rep. John Garamendi (D-Cal.) said on the House floor.

“We must change the law. It is ancient,” he said. “It has already been proved by January 6th and then the coup attempt [when people tried] To use that law to install a person in the presidency who was not legitimately elected by the people of America.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called the measure “a historic and bipartisan legislative action to protect the integrity of future presidential elections,” and then posed a series of questions.

“How can anyone vote against free and fair elections, the cornerstone of our Constitution? How can anyone vote against the vision of our founders by placing power in the hands of the people? How can one vote against one’s own constituents, giving radical politicians a chance to have their say?

House Republicans – 139 of whom refused to testify to Biden’s victory – opposed the measure, with GOP leadership moving the ranks and file to vote against it.

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Rep. Tom McClintock (R-California) said that the bill “narrows the grounds on which Congress can interfere with the counting … it still allows Congress to invalidate electoral votes, so it does not solve the problem” The measure handles electoral counting in a “clumsy and partisan” manner.

Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) complained that “the bill tramples on state sovereignty while the Constitution empowers states to make and interpret their state’s laws.”

Cheney and Lofgren are members of the bipartisan House select committee investigating the Capital insurgency and have made a serious assessment of the risks of similar future attacks on American democracy and a peaceful transfer of power. The next hearing of the January 6 committee is scheduled for September 28.

In a joint op-ed for the Wall Street Journal on Sunday, Cheney and Lofgren said there was more to come from the committee about the extent of Trump’s plans to reverse the 2020 presidential election, but that they had “laws.” obligation to recommend. Make sure such an attack never happens again.” Trump, he pointed out, has continued to spread unfounded claims of widespread electoral fraud, and pro-Trump candidates in state and local elections across the country have embraced those lies.

Cheney and Lofgren wrote, “This raises the possibility of another attempt to steal the presidential election, perhaps with another attempt to corrupt the proceedings of Congress for the sake of electoral votes.” He continued: “Our proposal is to uphold the rule of law for all future presidential elections, by ensuring that self-interested politicians cannot steal from the people the guarantee that our government derives its power from the consent of the governed. does.”

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The bill passed the House Rules Committee on Tuesday by a 9-3 vote. The Biden administration supports the bill, calling it another step in “a critically needed reform of the 135-year-old Electoral Count Act.”

“Americans need more clarity in the process by which their votes will result in the election of the President and Vice President,” the Office of Management and Budget said in a statement Wednesday. “as [the Presidential Election Reform Act] As the legislative process progresses, the administration looks forward to working with Congress to ensure permanent reform consistent with Congress’s constitutional right to protect voting rights, protect electoral votes, and strengthen our democracy. Can you

Sens. Joe Manchin III (DW.Va.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) have introduced legislation in the Senate, the Electoral Count Reform and Presidential Transition Improvement Act, that separates the House from the House on the threshold for members of both houses. Thing. Bipartisan support for the Senate bill is growing, with 10 Democrats and 10 Republicans co-sponsors as of Wednesday afternoon.

“We are pleased that there is increasing bipartisan support for these sensible and much-needed reforms to the Electoral Counts Act of 1887,” Collins and Manchin said in a joint statement. “Our bill is supported by electoral law experts and organizations across the ideological spectrum. We will continue to work to increase bipartisan support for our legislation that will fix the loopholes in this archaic and obscure law. ,

Marianna Sotomayor and Leigh Ann Caldwell contributed to this report.

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