House passes bill to prevent efforts to undermine presidential election results

The House of Representatives voted on Wednesday to pass an election reform bill aimed at preventing the president from trying to pass Congress to overturn the result, the first vote on such an effort since Jan. 1. On January 6, 2021, pro-Trump thugs attacked the Capitol in an attempt to prevent Joe Biden from winning the certification of the election.

The bill passed by a vote of 229 to 203, with only nine Republicans breaking out of camp and joining Democrats in support of the measure. None of the nine Republican lawmakers will become members of Congress next year — either because they lost their primary or opted to retire.

The Presidential Election Reform Act, written by the House of Representatives. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), explicitly citing the Capitol attack as justification for amending the Election Counting Act of 1887 “to prevent other future illegal attempts to overturn the presidential election and to secure a future peaceful transfer of presidential power” .”

“Legal challenges are not inappropriate, but Donald Trump’s refusal to comply with the court’s ruling is certainly inappropriate,” Cheney said Wednesday during a House debate on the measure. “In our system of government, state elections determine who is president. Our bill won’t change that. But this bill will prevent Congress from illegally choosing the president itself.”

Later, Cheney added: “This bill is a very important and critical bill, make sure this thing What happened on January 6th will never happen again. “

President Donald Trump falsely told his supporters that Vice President Mike Pence has the right to reject 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 presidential election reform bill would explicitly reiterate that the vice president has no role in validating presidential elections other than serving as a puppet overseeing the vote-counting process, prohibiting that person from altering the results. It would also widen the threshold required for members of both chambers to oppose a state’s outcome and clarify the governor’s role in the process. Finally, it would make it clear that state legislatures cannot retroactively change election rules to alter the outcome.

“In Hollywood, there’s always a sequel, usually a really bad movie. Unless we change the 1887 election counting method, we’re going to have a new sequel in 2024,” the Rep. said. John Garamendi (D-Calif.) speaks in the House of Representatives.

“We have to change the law. It’s ancient,” he added. “Jan has proven it. 6 and the attempted coup [when people tried] Use this law to appoint a person who was not legally elected by the American people as president. “

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

“How can anyone vote against free and fair elections that are the cornerstone of our constitution? How can anyone vote against our founder’s vision to put power in the hands of the people? How can anyone vote against their own constituents and let radical politicians strip them away the right to speak?”

House Republicans — 139 of whom refused to prove Biden won — opposed the measure, and the GOP leadership pushed the general public to vote against it.

Congressman. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) said that while the bill narrows “the grounds on which Congress can intervene in pre-determined votes … it still allows Congress to invalidate electoral votes, so it doesn’t solve the problem,” and It added that the measure handled election counts in a “clumsy and partisan” way.

Congressman. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) complained that “the act tramples on the sovereignty of the state, and the Constitution gives states the power to make and interpret their own state laws.”

Cheney and Lofgren were members of the bipartisan House select committee investigating the Capitol riots and made a sober assessment of the risk of similar attacks on U.S. democracy and a peaceful transition of power in the future. simple. 6 The committee’s next hearing is scheduled for September. 28.

In a joint column in The Wall Street Journal on Sunday, Cheney and Lofgren said the committee has more to say about Trump’s plans to overturn the 2020 presidential election, but they also “have an obligation to recommend legislation to ensure that such attacks don’t.” Again.” They point to Trump’s continued spread of unfounded claims about widespread electoral fraud that have been embraced by pro-Trump candidates in state and local elections across the country.

“This raises the possibility of another attempt to steal the presidential election, perhaps another attempt to disrupt the process by which Congress counts electoral votes,” Cheney and Lofgren wrote. “Our proposal is designed to pass Uphold the rule of law for all future presidential elections by ensuring that selfish politicians cannot steal from the people the assurance that our government will gain power from the consent of the governed.”

The bill passed the House Rules Committee on Tuesday by a 9-3 vote. The Biden administration backed the 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 in a statement Wednesday. [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. “

sense. Joe Manchin III (DW.Va.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) introduced legislation in the Senate, the Electoral Reform and Presidential Transition Improvements Act, which differs from the House on the threshold of opposition from both chambers. Bipartisan support for the Senate bill is growing, with 10 Democrats and 10 Republicans co-sponsors as of Wednesday afternoon.

“We are pleased that bipartisan support for these sensible and much-needed reforms to the Election Counting Act of 1887 continues to grow,” Collins and Manchin said in a joint statement. “Our bill is supported by election laws in every ideological area. Support from experts and organizations. We will continue to work to increase bipartisan support for our legislation to correct the shortcomings of this antiquated and ambiguous law.”

Marianna Sotomayor and Leigh Ann Caldwell contributed to this report.

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