House lawmakers lay out proposal for legislation to prevent another January 6
(CNN) — GOP Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California previewed in an op-ed their proposed legislation to make it harder to overturn a certified presidential election in the future by proposing changes to the Electoral Count Act.
Both Cheney and Lofgren serve as members on the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, Capitol Hill insurrection, which in part is tasked with proposing legislative recommendations that could help prevent an attack on the US Capitol from happening again.
The lawmakers also argue this legislation is critical, pointing to candidates currently running for offices at the state and federal level who could impact future elections and who believe former President Donald Trump’s election lies. Cheney and Lofgren said this raises concerns of “another effort to steal a presidential election, perhaps with another attempt to corrupt Congress’s proceeding to tally electoral votes.”
“This week we will propose reforms to the Electoral Count Act to protect the rule of law and ensure that future efforts to attack the integrity of presidential elections can’t succeed,” Cheney and Lofgren write in the op-ed published in The Wall Street Journal on Sunday.
The House is preparing to take a vote on this bill at some point this week. The bill’s text is expected to be released soon, as the House Rules Committee has scheduled a key meeting on the legislation for Tuesday.
In their op-ed, Cheney and Lofgren lay out four areas they hope their legislation can address.
The first would be to reaffirm the Constitution and make it clear that the vice president has “no authority or discretion to reject official state electoral slates, to delay the count in any material way, or to issue procedural rulings that have such an effect.”
After the 2020 election, Trump tried to get former Vice President Mike Pence to reject electors from states, which Pence never did.
The proposed legislation would also make it harder for lawmakers to raise objections to official electors submitted from states, arguing that Congress should not be a “court of last resort.” They argue that objections should require one-third of each chamber to be entertained and a majority of votes to be sustained. Currently, objections only need one House member and one senator in order to be raised.
Third, Cheney and Lofgren say that governors must transmit lawful election results to Congress. They say that if a governor or another official prevents that from happening, “candidates for the presidency should be able to sue in federal court to ensure that Congress receives the state’s lawful certificate.” They say that these lawsuits must happen before Congress counts electoral votes.
And fourth, the legislation would address attempts from state legislatures to change the outcome of an election after it was certified and before it was sent to Congress, as was the case in certain battleground states in 2020.
“The Constitution assigns an important duty to state legislatures, to determine the manner in which the states appoint their electors. But this shouldn’t be misread to allow state legislators to change the election rules retroactively to alter the outcome,” Lofgren and Cheney write.
This bill will have to be reconciled with legislation proposed by a group of Senators, led by Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, that was released in July.