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Jan. 6 committee-led elections bill passes House, but has an uncertain Senate future

Chris Cioffi, CQ-Roll Call on

Published in Political News

WASHINGTON — The House quickly took up and passed its response to a Senate proposal on how to overhaul a 135-year-old law governing the counting of presidential electoral votes, sending the hot-button issue back to the other side of the Capitol.

The final tally Wednesday was 229-203, with nine Republicans voting in favor. Among them was Liz Cheney of Wyoming, who joined with House Administration Chair Zoe Lofgren to introduce the bill Monday after months of anticipation.

Cheney and Lofgren are members of the select committee investigating last year’s Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob. The pair want to revise the Electoral Count Act of 1887, a law then-President Donald Trump’s supporters sought to exploit as part of an effort to stop Congress from counting electoral votes and declaring Joe Biden won the election.

The other Republicans who voted for the bill are Adam Kinzinger of Illinois (another Jan. 6 committee member), Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington, Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio, Chris Jacobs of New York, John Katko of New York, Peter Meijer of Michigan, Tom Rice of South Carolina and Fred Upton of Michigan.

All the Republicans either lost their primaries or have announced they will retire at the end of this Congress, and only Jacobs did not vote to impeach Trump.

Dan Newhouse of Washington and David Valadao of California, two other Republicans who voted to impeach Trump but are still on the ballot in November, voted with most of their Republican colleagues against the bill.

 

Though there’s bipartisan support in both chambers to update the electoral law, time to get it done before the end of this Congress is slipping away. And the House bill, with Cheney’s name behind it, may prove to be a nonstarter for Republicans who have largely ostracized the Wyoming Republican.

House Republicans criticized Cheney and Lofgren’s effort as a political exercise, and Senate support of their bill in its current form is unlikely.

In the Senate, a separate bill addressing changes to the ECA was released in July as part of a package shepherded through months of negotiation led by Sens. Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va., and Susan Collins, R-Maine. A markup on that bill is set for Sept. 27 in the Senate Rules and Administration Committee, days before the Senate is slated to leave town for a break ahead of November midterm elections.

The Senate’s bill is co-sponsored by 10 GOP senators — the number needed to overcome a Senate filibuster. It’s not clear whether all 50 Senate Democrats would vote in favor of the bill, though it picked up a few more Democrats as co-sponsors in recent days.

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