U.S. House of Representatives clears way for Jan. 6 election bill, but fate unclear

U.S. House of Representatives clears way for Jan. 6 election bill, but fate unclear

People wearing face masks to protect against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) walk past the US Capitol in Washington, USA on September 4, 2022. REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz/File Photo

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WASHINGTON, Sep 21 (Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday introduced a bill to regulate the process of certifying Congress for the presidential election as Democrats hope to avert the chaos that followed January 6, 2021, when rioters tried to topple Joe. Biden win.

In a vote of 219–209, with a majority of Republicans in opposition, the House of Representatives approved the rules for debating the measure, clearing the way for a vote to pass it.

The current process, outlined in the 1887 Electoral Counting Act, came under scrutiny after hundreds of supporters of then-Republican President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol in a deadly attempt to thwart Democrat Biden’s certification as the new president.

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The violence came after Trump falsely claimed — and continues to claim — that he only lost the election due to rampant fraud.

In addition, 139 Republicans in the House of Representatives and eight Republicans in the Senate voted to challenge the results in some key states.

“What we’re trying to do is take, let’s say, an ancient tool, the Electoral College, and upgrade it to work for us in America in the 21st century,” Democratic spokesman Jamie Ruskin said.

Lawmakers in both parties acknowledge that the vague law needs updating, but the House version has faced strong opposition from House Republicans who have argued the bill is going too far.

“House Democrats are desperate to score cheap votes on a bill that does nothing to improve the Electoral Count Act and does everything to take away constitutional and state sovereignty over elections,” Representative Guy Reschenthaler said.

The Senate is considering its own bill to reform the Electoral Counting Law, and the commission is due to discuss and possibly change its version on Tuesday.

The measure has 10 Republican and 10 Democratic sponsors, which means it will have enough support to pass in this House.

While the House and Senate versions of the bill share similarities, there are differences between the two that need to be ironed out before it is sent to Biden for his signature.

For example, a Senate bill would require one-fifth of the House and Senate to object to state electors, rather than one legislator each in both houses. The House bill, on the other hand, requires one-third of each House to raise an objection.

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Reporting by Makini Bryce and Richard Cowen; editing by Jonathan Oatis

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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