Mitch McConnell gives big boost to electoral bill in response to January 6 attack
The chaos that came to a head on January 6th of last year certainly underscored the need for an update,” added McConnell.
Among the differences: The number of lawmakers who would be required to force the House and Senate to vote to overturn a state’s certified electoral results and the procedures for resolving election disputes in federal courts.
The Senate bill would make a number of changes to the Electoral Count Act, and the Presidential Transition Act of 1963, in an attempt to address ambiguity in electoral law that Trump tried to exploit.
The Senate bill would require the support of one-fifth of each chamber to raise an objection.
The House bill would raise the threshold even higher – to one-third of each chamber – to force both chambers to vote on whether to throw out a state’s electoral results.
In the Senate bill, it states that each state’s governor would be responsible for submission of a certificate that identifies electors, eliminating the potential for multiple state officials sending multiple slates of electors.
But the bills differ in how lawsuits challenging election results can be taken up in federal court, with the House bill offering new avenues to sue, something some key Senate Republicans oppose.
In a clear response to Trump’s efforts to get then-Vice President Mike Pence to reject the electoral results of states that President Joe Biden won, both bills establish the vice president’s role as purely ceremonial.
The Senate’s bill has been split into two separate proposals, one of which will be voted on by the Senate Rules Committee on Tuesday.
The other package will go before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, which has yet to consider the measure.
The full Senate is unlikely to act before the November midterms, punting the issue until a lame-duck session of Congress at year’s end.
“The resulting product — this bill, as introduced — is the only chance to get an outcome and to actually make law,” said McConnell on Tuesday.