Congress approves first legal response to January 6 Capitol attack


Congress passed a measure aimed at making it harder to reverse a sanctioned presidential election, a pivotal moment that marked the initial legislative response to the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, and the ensuing campaign of relentless pressure to keep President Donald Trump inside. strength despite its loss in 2020.

The law that would overhaul the Election Census Act of 1887 was included as part of a massive $1.7 trillion government funding bill passed by the Senate on Thursday and the House on Friday. It will now go to President Joe Biden for the bill to be signed.

The measure to overhaul the Election Count Act would make it clear that the vice president’s role in overseeing the approval of election results in Congress is strictly ceremonial. This would raise the threshold to make it harder for lawmakers to force votes trying to overturn a state’s sanctioned outcome. It also includes provisions that will prevent efforts to lure fake voters into Congress.

The bill is the result of intense nonpartisan deliberation, which has garnered the support of prominent Republicans, including Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell. But some Republicans have pushed back efforts to overhaul the electoral law. So, while Republicans would soon take control of the House, lawmakers pressured to send the bill to Biden’s desk because they knew he would likely be convicted in the next Congress.

Senator Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine, and Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, announced Tuesday that the bill is being included as part of a broader government funding package.

“We are pleased that our legislation has been incorporated into the Bagged Allowances Act and are grateful to have the support of so many of our colleagues. “We look forward to seeing this bill become law,” Senators said in a joint statement.

The Election Count Act is an 1887 law that Trump tried to exploit and create confusion about how Congress counts Electoral College votes from each state in a presidential election. Constitutional experts say the vice president cannot currently ignore a state-sanctioned election result, but Trump forced then-Vice President Mike Pence to block his Electoral College certification in Congress as part of his pressure campaign. Pence refused to do so, and as a result, he became the target of the former president and his supporters, who stormed the Capitol on January 6.

The new legislation seeks to make clear that the vice president has only a ceremonial role in overseeing the confirmation of election results and does not have the power to unilaterally accept, reject, or resolve voter-related disputes.

It would also make it more difficult for members of Congress to attempt to disrupt an election by raising the threshold on the number of House and Senate members required to challenge election results when a joint session of Congress meets to confirm the results.

According to a fact sheet, the law “raises the threshold for at least one-fifth of the duly elected and sworn members of both the House of Representatives and the Senate to appeal to voters.” Under current law, only one Senator can attend a House member, forcing both parties to vote on whether to reject the contested results.

The bill also includes changes to thwart efforts to appoint false voters. For example, each state’s governor will be responsible for presenting a certificate identifying the voters, and Congress cannot accept a voter list submitted by any other official. “This reform will address the potential for multiple government officials to submit competing lists to Congress,” the fact sheet says.

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