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House passes bill to prevent stolen election, despite strong GOP opposition

WASHINGTON — The House voted 229 to 203 on Wednesday to pass a bill to prevent future election subversion, inspired by the Jan. 6 inquiry and a determination to prevent such an attack from happening again.

The presidential election reform bill was drafted and introduced earlier this week by Reps. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., and Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., two members of the Jan. 6 select committee.

The bill would amend the Electoral Count Act of 1887 to remove any doubt that the vice president’s role in tallying Electoral College votes is merely ministerial. It would lift the threshold for members of Congress to force a vote on reducing presidential voters from just one member of the House and Senate each to one-third of both houses. And it would require governors to send voters to Congress for the candidate who won, based on state law established before Election Day, which cannot be changed retroactively.

Democrats supported the bill unanimously and were joined by only nine Republicans; 203 Republicans voted “no”.

The GOP’s nine “yes” votes came from Representatives Liz Cheney of Wyoming, Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio, Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington, Chris Jacobs of New York, John Katko of New York, Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, Peter Meijer of Michigan, Tom Rice of South Carolina and Fred Upton of Michigan. All nine are retiring from Congress or have lost their primaries.

Cheney, who has fallen out of favor with his party for his scathing criticism of former President Donald Trump and his participation on the Jan. 6 committee, had urged fellow Republicans to support the measure.

“If your goal is to prevent future efforts to steal the election, I would respectfully suggest that conservatives support this bill,” Cheney said on the floor. “If instead your goal is to leave the door open for elections to be stolen in the future, you might decide not to support this bill or any other bill regarding the Voter Count Act. “

House Republican leaders pressured their members to vote against the bill. In an email to Republican offices, they called it “the latest attempt by the Democrats to seize control of the election from the federal government.”

Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., who chairs the Jan. 6 committee, called the GOP’s opposition to the bill “sad.”

“I’m not surprised at all they do. It’s unfortunate. Because we are a better country than what we saw on January 6,” he said.

The legislation now goes to the Senate, where a bipartisan group led by the senses. Joe Manchin, DW.Va., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, spent months working on a similar bill that will be considered by the Senate Rules Committee next time. Tuesday. He currently has 20 co-sponsors — 10 Republicans and 10 Democrats, enough to meet the 60-vote threshold to pass if Democrats unite behind him.

The Senate bill includes some differences. For example, the threshold for voting on an objection is one-fifth, instead of one-third in the bill passed by the House. The House bill also allows candidates to sue in federal court to enforce legal certification, which many Senate Republicans say is a failure.

“I think once people get a chance to see what our bill encompasses versus the Senate bill, I think you’ll see people moving on our side,” Thompson told the AFP. journalists.

Collins said she had “problems” with House legislation, including over the objection threshold. “There are misunderstandings on the part of the House about what certain provisions, such as the definition of a failed election, would actually do,” she said.

But she remained optimistic that the problems could be resolved. “I don’t think we’re as far apart as the House describes it,” she added.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., chair of the Senate Rules Committee, told NBC News she was “very proud” of the Senate legislation. She said she had been texting and talking with Lofgren about the way forward and “we all have a common goal of passing a bill by the end of the year.”

“As you know, it’s harder to get things done in the Senate. We basically have a 60-vote threshold in place. I would change that, but that’s what we have,” Klobuchar said in an interview. “And the fact that we came together like this is very important.”

Klobuchar said she and Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., the committee’s senior member, were working to get “consensus on some additional changes to the bill…some of which are in the bill.” bedroom”.

Senate Minority Whip John Thune, R.S.D., said Wednesday he would support the election bill if it remained narrow and “addressed the issues that I know they specifically sought to address.”

He said he should not include additional items such as federal voting rights measures. “My understanding is that they really tried to limit it to only things that apply specifically to the voter count law and those particular areas that have been problematic,” Thune said.

nbcnews Gt

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