On Wednesday, the House passed aan effort by Republican Rep. Liz Cheney and others to prevent another one , when pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol in an attempt to disrupt the counting of electoral votes from the 2020 presidential election. The final vote was 229 to 203, with nine Republicans joining Democrats to support the bill.
Those nine Republicans were Cheney and Representatives Tom Rice, Adam Kinzinger, Peter Meijer, Jaime Herrera Beutler, Fred Upton, John Katko, Anthony Gonzales and Chris Jacobs.
The Presidential Election Reform Act, sponsored by Cheney and his House colleague, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, ensures that Congress receives electoral certification from each state that accurately reflects the will of the voters, requires Congress to count electoral votes as the Constitution requires, and reaffirms that the vice president’s role in approving electoral votes is ministerial only, after Trump publicly called on then-Vice President Mike Pence to “reject fraudulently elected electors.” Pence refused, saying he didn’t have the authority to do so.
The bill also raises the threshold for any objection in the House or Senate to a state’s electoral votes, from one member of each house to one-third of the members of each house.
“Let me be clear – this is a kitchen table issue for families and we need to make sure this anti-democratic conspiracy does not succeed,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on the House floor ahead of the vote. “It’s a kitchen table issue, because denying the American people their fundamental freedom to choose their own leaders is denying them a voice in the policies we make and those policies can make a huge difference in their everyday lives.”
House GOP leaders encouraged Republican members to vote against the bill. None of the nine Republicans who voted for it will be on the ballot in November, withchallengers supported by Trump, and five decided not to run for election. former President Donald Trump for his actions in the run-up to the January 6 attacks.
The measure will still need to pass the Senate before it can be signed by President Biden.
“What Donald Trump tried to convince the vice president to do was illegal under existing law and we start by acknowledging that, but then we have to take steps to make sure another January 6th is something that never happens again,” he said is Cheney on the call on Tuesday.
In the Senate, Republican Sen. Susan Collins and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin announced Wednesday that a similar bill, the Election Counting Reform and Presidential Transition Improvement Act, now has 10 GOP cosponsors and 10 Democratic cosponsors. The fact that 10 Republicans are signing on as co-sponsors indicates that there is enough support to pass the bill in the Senate.
“We are pleased that bipartisan support continues to grow for these common-sense and much-needed reforms to the Election Counting Act of 1887,” Manchin and Collins said in a statement Wednesday. “Our bill is supported by election law experts and organizations across the ideological spectrum. We will continue to work to increase bipartisan support for our legislation that would correct the flaws in this archaic and ambiguous law.”
On Wednesday, the Office of Management and Budget issued a statement of formal support for the Presidential Election Reform Act.
“The administration shares Congress’s interest in preserving the electoral process to preserve the will of the people, expressed through democratic procedures established by law,” OMB said. “… Americans deserve greater clarity in the process by which their votes will result in the election of president and vice president.”
— Rebecca Kaplan contributed to this report