While the Senate is looking to pass Joe Manchin's Electoral Count Reform Act in the lame duck session after midterms, House Democrats have a tougher bill on tap from, of all people, Liz Cheney and Zoe Lofgren.
A bipartisan duo on the Jan. 6 committee on Monday rolled out legislation aimed at preventing future attempts to overturn elections, and House leaders are eyeing a vote as early as this week.
The Presidential Election Reform Act, unveiled by Reps. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., and Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., centers on overhauling the Electoral Count Act, an archaic law that governs the counting of electoral votes, which former President Donald Trump and his allies sought to exploit to stay in power after he lost the 2020 election.
The 38-page bill would make clear the vice president's role in counting votes is simply ministerial and raise the threshold for objecting to electors from one member of the House and Senate to one-third of each chamber. It would require governors and states to send electors to Congress for candidates who won the election based on state law prior to Election Day, according to an official summary, meaning states couldn’t change their election rules retroactively after an election.
The legislation is expected to be reviewed by the Rules Committee on Tuesday. Last week, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., notified members that the full House might consider the bill this week, which could occur as soon as Wednesday.
“Our proposal is intended to preserve the rule of law for all future presidential elections by ensuring that self-interested politicians cannot steal from the people the guarantee that our government derives its power from the consent of the governed,” Cheney and Lofgren wrote in an opinion piece for The Wall Street Journal. “We look forward to working with our colleagues in the House and the Senate toward this goal.”
The measure takes a different approach than the Senate's version, which is the product of months of bipartisan negotiations and scheduled for a committee markup later this month. For instance, the Senate bill would require one-fifth of each chamber to force a vote to object to electors.
To her credit, Cheney and Lofgren are trying to head off a potential SCOTUS disaster next summer where conservatives on the court declare that state legislatures can do whatever they want on voting without any oversight while the Voting Rights Act remains gutted and toothless thanks to John Roberts himself.
The bill has little to no chance in the Senate however, because Manchin's electoral reform bill doesn't actually do anything to clear up the legal questions over electors, state legislatures, and the VP, and Republicans want it to remain that way until at least after SCOTUS decides the NC election case.
We'll see. Cheney's going down swinging...but her career is over. That's not a bad thing.